Rockets win overtime thriller in DeKalb, 46-39, advance to state

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Rockridge Rockets beat the Elgin (St..Edward) Green Wave 46-39 in overtime March 10 in the DeKalb SuperSectional at the NIU Convocation Center.The win propels the Rockets into a state semi-final match with Decatur St. Teresa Friday.

The Green Wave's season ended with a 26-6 record while the Rockets improved to 30-1 with the victory.

It was a nip and tuck battle most of the way between the two teams.

Rocket Bryan Heath hit the first two baskets of the game and the Rockets led by six points twice early on before ending the first period with a 9-6 lead.

Throughout the next three quarters neither team led by more than four points at any time.

The Green Wave had a six point outburst late in the second quarter to take a 15-13 lead but baskets by T.J. Martens and Heath limited the damage.

The Green Wave hit a free throw with one second left in the first half to give them an 18-17 lead heading into the locker room at the half.

Heath had 10 of his game-high 26 points in the first half.

Gino Domel and Nick Huffy led the way for St. Edward with six points apiece.

The back and forth play continued throughout the third period. A three point play by Luke Johnson with about two minutes left gave the Rockets a 27-25 lead but the Green Wave tied the score at 28-28 by the end of the quarter.

The final period was played like a chess match with St. Edward stalling throughout the final five minutes of play after gathering a one point lead.

The Green Wave came up short from the free throw line a couple of trips down the floor and Heath hit the game-tying shot with 47.6 seconds to play in the fourth period.

St. Edward held the ball for the final shot but it wouldn't fall sending the game into a four minute overtime.

Bryan Heath gave the Rockets the lead in the opening seconds of the overtime period connecting on a three point play.

Joseph French answered for St. Edward with a three pointer to tie the score at 39-39 with 3:15 left to play.

An alley oop pass to Johnson gave the Rockets a two-point lead at 41-39 and a free throw from Heath gave Rockridge a three point lead, 42-29, with 1:13 remaining on the clock.

After a defensive stop Johnson was able to put the game away from the free throw line. Johnson hit a pair of free throws with 16.6 second left to give Rockridge a 44-39 lead. Johnson hit two more free throw eight seconds later to give the Rockets a seven point victory.

At the press conference following the game Johnson lamented that it was their worst game of the year. Heath agreed that he too had forced some shots.

"We've been relying on out defense all year," said Johnson. We did some good work to get us with it."

"We are a good team but they are working my heart overtime," joked head coach Toby Whiteman following the game. I get upset and crazy on the sidelines and they assist me on the sidelines. I think they know I'm trying to teach them something."

Whiteman added that St. Edward threw a lot of defenses at them, 3-2, 1-2-2, a matchup zone, and zone and we were confused at times. It shouldn't have confused us. We have seen these defenses all year. It was a big game on a big floor and we got confused a little bit."

Whiteman added that he felt good about the game going into overtime session. "it the timeouts toward the end we worked out what they were doing.

Heath noted, that he wasn't surprised by how he was defended tonight. "I've seen a lot of people get their hand in my face. I forced some shots. I wasn't getting some calls down low."

Heath said he never got nervous at the free throw line. He hit 10-13 from the foul line. "I've done them any times out in my barn. A lot of it is in the legs, the follow through and the release."

While Heath led the team in scoring with 26, Johnson scored 12; T.J. Martens, five and Dakota McManus, three.

Heath also led the team in rebounding with seven while Martens and McManus added five apiece. Martens also had a pair of blocks. Carson Frakes had a pair of steals to help the cause and Gentry Whiteman chipped in a steal as well.

Kelvin Cortez-Harvel and Nick Duffy led the Green Wave in scoring with 10 apiece while Gino Domel chipped in with nine. Dany Favela led everyone in rebounding with nine.