LP-A's Bartunek hauls in 1,000th career rebound
There is actually one stat in basketball which measures hustle and where sweat equity pays off – the rebound.
It’s a stat which Lake Park-Audubon senior forward Bailee Bartunek has perfected, despite standing just 5-foot-10.
Bartunek has used her basketball floor experience and placement to garner 1,000 career rebounds, a stat which she reached Monday at home during a dominating 49-19 victory over Park Christian.
“Bailee has taken care of the middle of the lane for us since her freshman year,” said LP-A head coach Brad Dunham. “I just don’t have to worry when we are on defense about the middle, because she has it.”
Bartunek is averaging 12.3 rebounds per game (147 on the season), a number she has averaged since her freshman season, thus putting her amongst some of the top rebounders in the state.
The LP-A forward doesn’t have the prototypical frame of a dominating rebounder, but instead uses her skills of boxing out and knowing where the ball will be after the shot.
“It just comes naturally since I was younger,” Bartunek said. “I just know where the ball is going to be and that’s from learning after many hours in the gym.”
The rebounding machine that Bartunek is helps drive the Raiders’ potent defensive machine. The Raiders (9-3) have allowed a paltry 36 points per game thus far this season, which is an important aspect of their success.
“We get a lot of one-and-out series because we rebound so well,” Dunham said. “We match up well most of time with our 2-3 zone, so we usually can clamp down on offenses.”
Since her sophomore season when she nabbed over 360 rebounds, opposing teams have focused on her by putting at least two players on her.
It hasn’t slowed Bartunek down on the boards, it just made her work a little harder.
“Usually, other teams are putting two people on me boxing out, so I just have to work harder getting around them,” Bartunek said.
That was ever present Monday as the Raiders ran rampant over Park Christian and jumped out to a 20-2 lead midway through the first half.
The Falcons were limited to one-shot series, with Bartunek owning the middle with 16 rebounds. She needed 14 entering the game to get over the 1,000 mark.
Although the Raiders shot only 35 percent, it was the team’s ability to rebound and make their second and third chances which keyed the 49-19 win.
“We are able to stop other teams’ transition because we have Bailee in the middle to rebound, which allows two of guards to get back on defense,” Dunham said.
The Raiders were led by senior guard Lindsey Olson’s 15 points, while Bartunek netted 14 points.
The Raiders are in the thick of the Pine to Prairie South Conference race, trailing Ada-Borup (10-0) by 1.5 games.
The Raiders limited Ada-Borup to 32 points in the teams’ first meeting in the 32-29 loss, which was half of what the Cougars usually average.
“We need to continue playing our good defense,” Bartunek said.
As far as reaching a rare milestone such as hauling in 1,000 career rebounds, Bartunek credited other people for the accomplishment.
“It just shows how all the teammates and coaches I’ve played with have really helped me and paid off,” Bartunek stated.
The Raiders will travel to Ada-Borup for a big conference game and then hit Frazee Friday for a 7:30 p.m. start.
Park Christian at Lake Park-Audubon, Monday, Jan. 20
Falcons 7 12 – 19
Raiders 26 23 – 49
Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) – LPA: Jen Hamre 4-0-0-2-8; Lindsey Olson 2-1-4-4-15; Megan Hilfer 1-0-2-2-4; Carli Raaen 0-0-0-2-0; Maddie Thompson 0-0-2-2-2; Bailee Bartunek 6-0-2-6-14
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