Rocket Basketball Blasts Off!

Nicholas Rulevish, Editor-in-Chief

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The Rockets season is underway, and there’s a lot to talk about. The team has had two tournaments and a couple of regular-season games as well. After their first ten games they have a record of 6-4, which is pretty good considering the competition. They’ve played a variety of teams so far, teams as big as Mascoutah (3A) and teams like Steeleville (1A). Here’s a rundown.

The Rockets started the season at the Carlyle tournament on November 30th against Hillsboro. The Rockets destroyed them, 62-34. The tournament was looking really good, especially after they beat the hosts of the tourney in their next game. Everybody saw playing time on the bench the first two games of the season. They took down Carlyle 47-33. This was the easy part though. Their next game was against Woodlawn who is said to be the best 1A school in the area. It was a very good game, but the Rockets fell 55-43. The final score doesn’t depict how well and close the game actually was. The game was tied up at halftime and was within three points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Instead of paying the championship game, the Rockets ended up having to play the 3rd place game against Freeburg. This was another close game, but the Midgets just came out on top. Although fourth place in your first tournament of the year is pretty solid. It’s also not easy playing Woodlawn and Freeburg back-to-back games. 

Then it was time for the regular season. The Rockets beat Sesser-Valier and Trico quite easily in the next two games winning both by just under 20 points. The next game against Greenville was canceled due to all the snow, so the Rockets had to wait a whole week between games. Steeleville was the next challenge for them. Steeleville was moved to 1A this year and rumor is that we may be placed in Regionals with them, so this is a crucial game. They beat them by ten points by a final score of 36-46. 

Then came the Mater Dei tournament. The team’s goal was to have a 500 win percentage at the end of the tournament. The first game against the 3A school Mascoutah went into three overtimes! The Rockets made a push, but the Indians were just a bit better and ultimately won. That same day the Rockets had to come back to Mater Dei and play Highland. The Rockets crushed them by a large amount. The next game was probably their biggest of the year to this point in the season. They played the host of the tournament, Mater Dei. It was a great and a close game, but the Knights just came out on top 47-41. The Rockets fought very hard against one of the top 2A schools in the state. The next and final game was against the Red Bay Tigers, a team that made a trip all the way from Alabama. Again, it was another close game until the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Rockets began to pull away. Okawville finished the tournament with a 500 winning percentage and fifth place in the tournament. Okawville’s coach Jon Kraus told his team that they played very well throughout the course of the tournament and that he was pleased with their performance. 

Finally, after the tournament was over, the boys played two more games. One at Roxana and another at Nashville. The Roxana game was close until the last couple minutes of the fourth quarter when the Rockets began to shoot their free-throws exceptionally well. They won that game 49-41. The next and final game that’ll wrap up the first half of the season was the Pink-Out Night against Nashville. This is a big rivalry game every year, but especially this year because Nashville is ranked in the top ten 2A schools in the state. The Rockets were winning for most of the game until Nashville hit a lucky three-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter to tie the score at 38. The Hornets came from behind in a great game from both sides and the Rockets lost by four, 47-43.

There is still a great number of games to be played this season by the team, but what really matters is the postseason. That’s what the team is trying to focus on. Last year they won Regionals and Sectionals. They’re gonna attempt the same feat except this time, shoot for a little farther.