Comets Dominate Paint in 66-51 Win Over Pelican Rapids

Sander Frustol unleashed a career performance in the Comet gym Tuesday night as Hillcrest controlled the Pelican Rapids Vikings. Coming off their worst loss of the year, falling to the Oak Grove Grovers in a Saturday afternoon match, the Comets rebounded, literally. The team pulled down a season high 33 rebounds, with Frustol grabbing 20 boards.

Hillcrest started the game missing their first three shots. After winning the tip, Sander Frustol positioned himself in the paint for a contested layup. The Comets collected Frustol’s miss and worked for a tip in. After a Viking player tipped the rebound out of bounds the Comets found Thomas Zwiers on the inbound, who missed an uncontested layup. The second and third chance offerings earned by the Comets in the paint was a consistent theme that played out through the night. The series usually ended with a pass to Frustol who would start the Comets to the defensive end with a soft layup into the net.

The Vikings held a 12-6 lead early in the game before Hillcrest called a timeout to reset their strategy. In the huddle Comet coach Gregg Preston refocused his squad, who went on a scoring streak to put them back on top of the Vikings. They would hold the lead through the rest of the game.

The Vikings shot 8 for 20 in the first half, opening doors for the Comets to end the Viking’s series early to start their own offensive attack. The Comets converted on 10 of their first 21 shots, propelling them to a 32 to 24 lead going into the half.

Coming out of the half the Comets kept the pressure on Pelican Rapids, slowing the game down to a half court offense that scored on 34% of their possessions. In their 71 trips into a half court offense through the night, Hillcrest shot 43%, a markedly different stat than they’ve had since opening the new year.

Hillcrest had 44 of their 66 points in the paint, thanks in large part to Frustol and Zwiers. Frustol contributed 28 total points in the contest, while Zwiers added 15. Hillcrest found 43 points from their big men, a significant scoring campaign that needed little support from others as Hillcrest continued to find success on offense with a simple entry pass inside.

Pelican Rapids struggled to match blow-for-blow with Hillcrest’s big men. Their 43 plays in the paint earned them 32 points on the night. They missed 16 of their shots in the paint, contested mainly by Frustol and Zwiers who combined for six blocks on the night.

When the final buzzer sounded the Comets shoot hands under the scoreboard that read 66-51. The strong night in the paint was a welcomed sight after struggling to start their offense four days earlier in Fargo. The Comets will take their strong performance to an Underwood team that is building a reputation for being physical and starting fits in offenses around the conference.

Wayne StenderComment