Rockford sports report
BY DAVE PEDERSEN
It didn’t matter that Rockford was going against the No. 1 Class A boys basketball team in the state, senior Brock Deering was not about to slow down.
Deering had a two-game stretch last week where he was in a very productive groove, showing why the three-year starter has become one of the top players in the Central Minnesota Conference.
Rockford lost 91-71 to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, the undefeated and top ranked team in Class A. Deering did his best, scoring 21 points with 12 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, one steal and had no fouls.
Deering also powered the Rockets in the next game, resulting in a 66-60 victory over Pierz at St. Cloud State Saturday. Deering poured in 25 points to go with 13 rebounds, seven assists, one block, one steal and again had no fouls.
Coach Michael Tauber said Deering ranks second in league rebounding and third in scoring. On the season he is averaging 21.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. At the start of the week Deering was just 30 points shy of the 1,000 mark in his career. Unfortunately, the next four games were scheduled to be on the road and the home crowd will have to wait to celebrate the high achievement.
“Brock’s scoring average is as high as anyone I have ever coached at Rockford,” adds Tauber. “That includes Nick Haugen who scored 2,300 points after starting for five seasons. His best single season was about 19 points per game.”
Deering gives credit to former scoring standouts like Haugen and Nate Maher, who are both helping out the Rocket coaching staff this season. Both played on the last Rocket team to play at state six years ago. Maher also cleared the 1,000-point milestone.
“They are extremely knowledgeable and have taught me a ton,” says Deering about Haugen and Maher. “It has been great to have the perspective of two great players. There are times when they say, ‘instead of doing that why not try this, which worked for me when I was in high school.’ I love having them around.”
The going got a little tougher a couple weeks ago when starting point guard Nick Tully left with a sprained ankle and will be out another two weeks. He was one of three Rocket players back with extensive varsity experience, including Brendon Schumacher and Deering.
“Nick has been a big loss to say the least,” says Deering about the senior who started with him on varsity as sophomores. “When we get our point guard back we think we can make a good run. This team has not shown its full potential.”
Committing only a couple of fouls in the last five games, none in the last two, Deering said it may be because he got in foul trouble the first couple of games this season and realized he was needed as a key player for the team. He began to play more conservative on defense in the first half of games.
As for rebounding, Deering said a lot of it is not giving up on a play. He adds, “If you are not in position you are not going to get the rebound. I don’t focus on how many rebounds I can get, my first thought every time a shot goes up is to box out the player I am defending.”
Rockford has some more stiff competition coming up, including playing in the Minnesota-Wisconsin border battle, 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Kaukauna High School against Pacelli from Stevens Point.
The annual event features six of the top teams from each state. Rockford last played in the border battle when it had a state tourney team six years ago. Tauber said Rockford was asked to be a fill-in for a team in a similar class. Pacelli is a standout private school.
“It will be an honor to play in the border battle,” notes Deering. “Plus we get to go there in a coach bus and stay in a hotel, which will be awesome.”
Deering has proven to be a standout in three sports. He was the starting quarterback for three seasons, helping the team reach the section title game as a junior. He batted over .500 in baseball last season. Basketball and football are his two favorite sports and he has been recruited by colleges for both.
Against Pierz, Tauber said Tom Traen changed the game when he stole the in-bound pass and turned it into a layup basket, giving Rockford the lead it never gave up. Jeremy Bingham added 13 points. Ben Zilmer had eight points and four blocked shots and Zach Connell had five assists.
Against BBE Joe Agre scored 14 points, Connell had five more assists, Schumacher pulled down 13 rebounds and both Bingham and Carter Olsen netted seven points.
Rockford plays at Eden Valley-Watkins Thursday, Jan. 23 and at Kimball Tuesday, Jan. 28. The next home game is Friday, Jan. 31 against Maple Lake.
The game against Eden Valley-Watkins was postponed due to weather last Thursday. Rockford has four straight home games, against Foley Thursday, Jan. 23, against Pierz Friday, Jan. 24, against Breck Tuesday, Jan. 28 and against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Thursday, Jan. 30.
The gymnasts lost to Becker 138.775 to 120.875 last week. The Rockets are scheduled to compete at Maple Lake Friday, Jan. 24, at Waconia Jan. 28 and at Little Falls Jan. 31.
The Rockers lost to Norwood-Young America 40-30 and defeated Irondale 66-18. The team is at Kimball Jan. 30.