Rocket girls fall a little off target
BY DAVE PEDERSEN
Having more Rockford boys basketball players take part in the scoring in recent games sparked the Rockets to three straight wins, upping the record to 6-2.
Last week Rockford rolled to victories over Norwood-Young America 88-51 and West Lutheran 70-57. In each of the last three games Rockford had four players score in double figures.
Last Thursday the Rockets took down a strong team from Norwood-Young America, dominating the second half to win by 37 points after taking an 8-point halftime lead.
“Norwood beat Watertown by 19 and Maple Lake by 37,” said coach Michael Tauber. “It was unreal how they put up 40 3-point shots against Maple Lake. We went with an extended zone defense and they only shot 3 for 18 from long range. We contested every shot and killed them on the boards, outrebounding them 39-22.”
Offensively, Rockford shot 65 percent from 2-point range and shot 56 percent overall. Joe Agree got the Rockets off to a fast start by making his first three shots, all 3-pointers. And then he injured his ankle and missed the rest of the game.
Four other Rockets picked up the pace. Brock Deering led the charge with 22 points and 15 rebounds, followed by Jeremy Bingham (14) Brendon Schumacher (12), and Thomas Traen (11). Nick Tully added seven assists at point guard.
Tauber was worried that the game would be the first time all season his team faced a zone defense. The Rockets were able to knock down shots and often beat defenders up the floor before they could get into the zone.
Rockford defeated West Lutheran Saturday after building a 49-28 halftime lead. Scoring leaders were Deering (17), Bingham (15), Schumacher (14) and Tully (14). Traen added seven points.
The Rockets head to defend its title at the St. James Tournament, starting at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27 against Morris. Last year Rockford had one win when facing undefeated Morris and won in overtime. A win could put Rockford against St. James Dec. 28, a team that is unbeaten and averages 83 points per game. The next home game is Friday, Jan. 3 against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.
ROCKET GIRLS TOP PIERZ
Shots were falling when Rockford’s girls basketball team defeated Pierz 66-55 last week. Shots were more off target in the 46-37 loss to Holdingford Friday and a narrow 42-41 loss to West Lutheran Saturday.
Against Pierz, Sam Bagaason hit for 18 points, while Abby Botten and Caitlin McNeal both scored 13 points and Jordan Wedding had 10.
“We were up two at the half but came out with the win based on how the defense responded in the second half,” said coach James Carr. “I was also happy how the girls made the extra pass to their teammates, leading to easy baskets.”
Weeding returned to action after missing the Delano game with a strained back. The Rockets are still without junior Brianna Calder, who suffered a concussion in the first game. She expected to return for the Jordan holiday tournament.
“We lost a close one to Holdingford when for some reason those open looks that were going in for us stopped going in,” adds Carr. “Lili Lee was a spark off the bench. “She played the whole second half because she was the one player shooting with confidence.”
Lee was the lone Rocket scoring in double figures with 10 points. Bagaason had nine points, Botten seven and Weeding four.
Rockford had the lead most of the game against West Lutheran until the end when fouling with two seconds to play and the score tied at 41. One free throw won the game. Once again, shots were not finding the net, including missed layups and free throws.
“Early in the season we had a flow where if one player was not scoring someone else did,” adds Carr. “In the last couple of games we had the bug where shots don’t go in for everybody.”
Weeding powered the offense with 16 points. Nugi Lee scored eight points and sisters Allison and Caitlin McNeal both had five points.
Rockford (1-5) will face Rogers, 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27 in the first round of the Jordan Tournament. The second round is Dec. 28. The team plays at Watertown-Mayer, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4.