by Dave Pedersen
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Rockford’s boys basketball season came to a hard luck close when losing 47-46 to Kimball Area in the first round of the Section 5AA playoffs.
“It was a hard fought well played game that was very much a defensive battle,” said coach Michael Tauber. “Neither team was in the lead by more than four points. We were up by four at the half, but they went up by four a couple times in the second half.”
The game was tied at 46 with 15 seconds to play when Rockford was called for a foul away from the basket. Kimball made one of two free throws and Rockford missed on a final shot at victory.
Tauber points to one key series of events that started with two and a half minutes to play. Rockford ran an out of bounds play to perfection, but the wide open layup spun out. A Rocket got the rebound and was fouled, but missed the free throws. On the second miss Brendon Schumacher fouled out trying for the rebound. Kimball made two free throws to take a 2-point lead.
“We were never able to get the lead back after that,” said Tauber. “We tied the game three more times. There are many ways to look at a one-point game.”
Tauber looked at how his team only had two free throw attempts in the game as Kimball’s defense kept Rockford shooting from the outside, allowing few drives to the basket.
Rockford was 5 for 17 shooting from 3-point range, 0-5 in the second half. For the game the Rockets shot a high 45 percent, but got off only 40 shots. Rockford also had the edge in rebounds, 20-17.
Schumacher led with 10 points, followed by Brock Deering 9, Joe Agre 8, Nick Tully 6, Jordan Redepenning 5, Joey Richardt 4, Robert Dumas 2 and Ben Arens 2.
Rockford appeared ready for a playoff run, winning 13 of the last 19 games after getting off to a 1-6 start. The team finished 14-13 overall, fourth in the conference.
The week prior to the playoffs Rockford beat Maple Lake 76-71 when Deering and Agre both scored 16 points and Tully added 14. In the76-52 victory over Milaca to end the regular season, Deering hit for 23 and Tully added 13.
Rockford returns its top three scorers next year in Deering, Tully and Schumacher, but losing seven seniors who each brought a certain quality to the team.
Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]