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Baron of the boards

Matt Faber's propensity for rebounding, along with his other talents, have helped La Cañada to a successful season

February 16, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

Matt Faber, a senior starting forward for the offensive powerhouse La Cañada High boys' basketball team, doesn't care about finishing the game with the most points — he'd much rather have the most rebounds when he walks off the court.

Faber's been a beast on the boards this season. He currently leads the Spartans, and the entire Rio Hondo League, in rebounding, as he's pulled down 236 boards in the regular season – 120 more than teammate Sean Mintie's 116, the team's second-highest rebound number.

The way he's accepted his role has allowed his team to excel this season. His rebounds have provided balance and second opportunities for La Cañada's high-powered offense.

"For me, getting rebounds is more important than having the most points because without the rebounds, the other team has more chances to score, and it's a lot more difficult to win that way. I'm fine with letting Mike [McGlashan] or Dario [CiVon] carry the team in scoring," said Faber, a 17-year-old.

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Although rebounding is important, the only thing that matters more to Faber is that the Spartans come out on top, and he'll do whatever he needs to do to make that happen.

La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman said Faber, and his rebounding prowess, have been critical to the Spartan's success this season. The team went 10-0 to capture the Rio Hondo League championship, finished the regular season with a 23-3 overall record and earned the third seed in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs.

"I put [Faber] in the top three rebounders I've ever coached," Hofman said. "To be a good team, you need to be a good defensive and rebounding team — offense is third. When he goes out of the game, our production goes way down."

Faber said he's always had jumping ability, but thinks his fundamentals are what give him an edge on the boards, even against taller opponents.

"I try to box out and get position before I go up," said Faber, who played football and tennis for the Spartans last season and will tackle volleyball in the spring. "A lot of the times I'll see where the ball is going before it actually comes up [off the rim] and I can beat the other guy to the spot."

Hofman wants to see Faber keep rebounding in the playoffs, but wouldn't mind him looking for more scoring opportunities of his own.

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