Rockets win six straight games to be 11-10
by DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS Newspapers
A unique coaching move by James Carr led to a 67-61 Rockford overtime girls basketball victory against Maple Lake Friday.
The brilliant idea was to listen to a request made about a month ago by a player, junior Abby Botten, to add a play to the list designed for a certain situation.
When the Rockets trailed Maple Lake by three points with nine seconds left, Carr saw how the new play was in order and called for it. Rockford had the ball under the basket. Two screens set Botten up for a 3-point shot in the corner, which she sank to force overtime and eventual Rockford win.
“One day in practice Abby said ‘hey coach why not use this play’ that she said always worked by her traveling youth team,” recalls Carr. “So we put it in our play book and practiced it a couple of times. The girls worked it to perfection.”
Botten, a 5-4 junior guard, has been the team’s top 3-point shooter who has made some big baskets this season. Against Maple Lake she scored 14 points with five assists as the first player off the bench.
“Abby has been playing with a lot of confidence,” adds Carr. “She is taking the ball to the basket more and has a lot more poise. She has always been a good shooter, but when you make the jump to varsity everything is at a different speed and it takes time to adjust.”
Botten is not the only Rocket to show improvement from the start of the season. The team won its sixth straight game Monday with a 51-42 victory over Watertown-Mayer.
Sophomore Brianna Calder had one of her better games, scoring 22 points with 13 rebounds. She averages nine points on the season. Katelynn Pedersen took down 12 rebounds and Jayda Palmer had nine.
Earlier last week Rockford defeated Holdingford 56-47 when Palmer had 13 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots. Sophomore guard Sam Bagaason hit for 16 points, Pedersen had eight points and eight rebounds and Calder added eight points, six rebounds and six steals.
Against Maple Lake, five Rockets scored in double figures. Botten, Bagaason and Calder each had 14 points, while Palmer had 13 and junior Jordan Weeding added 10.
“In the offense we run everybody has their opportunity to shoot if they pick their spots,” adds Carr. “If we make the extra pass we go from having a decent shot to an excellent one. If we hit our long shots, defenses can’t sag in on our inside players.”
Rockford improved to 11-10 overall and moved into third place in the conference at 6-4. The Rockets next play at home against second place Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (9-1), Thursday, Feb. 7. The team plays at first place Eden Valley-Watkins (10-0) Tuesday, Feb. 12 and at Kimball Friday, Feb. 15.
Rockford boys basketball trailed Minneapolis-Roosevelt by four points with seven and a half minutes to play in the non-conference game last week before going on a 19-4 run and win 59-48.
Despite facing a full court, man to man pressure defense the entire game, Rockford made a season low 12 turnovers. Brendon Schumacher scored 16 points with 12 rebounds and Brock Deering added 15 points.
Ben Arens sparked the defense with eight rebounds and Joe Richardt came off the bench to get seven rebounds, five points, four assists and four steals. Jordan Redepenning led with eight assists.
The Rockets lost to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 70-55 when facing a hot-shooting team. HLWW improved to 13-5 by shooting 64 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the free throw line, going 21 for 28. Rockford shot 39 percent.
Schumacher led with 18 points followed by Deering with 15. Redepenning had seven assists.
Rockford next is home against once-beaten Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Friday, Feb. 8. BBE lost to Melrose, the top team in Class 2A, while BBE is No. 1 in A.
The 9-9 Rockets also play at Watertown Mayer Tuesday, Feb. 12 and at home against Pierz, Friday, Feb. 15.
Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]