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Rebounds carry Faith Lutheran boys past Mojave

Faith Lutheran boys basketball coach Bret Walter thinks he knows at least one part of the formula for winning games, and it has nothing to do with making 3-pointers or fancy passes.

For Walter, it’s all about rebounding.

And Faith Lutheran junior Clayton Holthaus made sure the Crusaders held the edge on the boards Tuesday night on the way to a 58-43 road win over Mojave.

“It’s key for every game,” Walter said of rebounding. “It’s the most common loose ball in the game. You’ve got to try to win that one. In my opinion, it’s the stat that correlates most often to wins.”

That was the case Tuesday as the Crusaders (8-9, 1-1 Division I-A Sunset League) had a 38-23 edge in rebounds. Holthaus had 13 rebounds, including 10 in the second half.

“He had a big second half,” Walter said of his 6-foot-6-inch junior. “He’s played well in the last five or six games. We did go a little smaller, which he’s got to step up in that role and rebound the ball.”

Holthaus did just that, and he also scored 13 of his 16 points after halftime. Faith Lutheran scored eight second-chance points in the fourth quarter, many after Holthus kept the play alive.

“We felt like we were doing fine on the defensive end,” Walter said. “We had to get a few (rebounds) on offense, especially if you’re shooting the percentage we were in the first half. You’ve got to get some of your own boards.”

Faith Lutheran was 7-for-19 (36.8 percent) from the field in the first half, and the Crusaders had a 19-16 lead.

The teams traded the lead five times in the third quarter, with Faith Lutheran taking the advantage for good on a bucket by D’Khari Hicks that made the score 32-31 with 1:59 left in the third quarter.

Faith Lutheran led 36-33 entering the fourth quarter and pulled away down the stretch, holding Mojave (10-7, 1-1) to one field goal in the fourth quarter.

Hicks had a strong game at the point, finishing with 10 points and nine assists.

“He did a nice job of taking it to the basket a few times when it was there and then actually hitting the open guy when the help came,” Walter said.

Sam Stevens scored nine of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter for Faith Lutheran, most coming on drives to the hoop.

“They were putting on some pressure, and we were able to handle the pressure and finish with some layups to put it out of reach,” Walter said.

Jason Wallace paced the Rattlers with seven points, seven rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.

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