Rockets stay perfect after handling Illini West


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Posted Online: Dec. 07, 2012, 11:05 pm
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By Terry Duckett, tduckett@qconline.com
EDGINGTON -- After beating reigning West Central North champion Monmouth-Roseville earlier in the week, Carthage Illini West was a team that caught the Rockridge Rockets' collective attention.

"That told us that right now, Illini West is going to be a better team,'' said Rockridge sophomore guard Bryan Heath. "We just wanted to come out, get a good win and make sure we're the best in the conference.''

With Heath hitting 10-of-15 shots for a game-high 26 points, seconded by another dominant performance in the paint by junior forward Ethan Happ, the Rockets accomplished their goals Friday night as they blitzed the Chargers 62-42 to stay perfect at 7-0 and take sole possession of the WCC North lead at 3-0.

"Like Coach (Toby) Whiteman says, we're playing our game, and you always want to get better,'' Heath said. "Even with this game, you can always find ways to do better.''

Posting his sixth double-double in seven games, Happ seconded Heath in the scoring column with 23 points and snared a game-high 18 rebounds. In fact, Happ outboarded the entire Illini West (2-1, 2-1 WCC North) squad, which got 16 from 11 players.

"Being able to drive and have someone with good hands like Ethan, we can kick it in to him and he can finish with his strength and length,'' said Heath, who also snared five rebounds. "I can get the wide-open 3-pointers, and there's definitely places when I can flash to the basket.''

With a large crowd taking in Friday's key early-season contest at the Rockets' pad, both clubs struggled to find the mark in the first quarter. Overcoming six turnovers in the first eight minutes, Rockridge used a three-point play by Heath in the closing seconds to take a 13-6 lead.

After missing seven of their first eight shots in the second period, the Rockets used a Heath 3-ball to catch fire, using a 10-2 run to open up a double-digit lead en route to a 29-15 halftime advantage.

"It's one of those games with a packed house, Friday night, and both teams undefeated,'' said Whiteman. "It (the first quarter) was the feeling-out stage; no one tried to deliver the knockout punch. Like with Orion (a 71-47 win this past Tuesday), it was about recognizing what they were doing. Illini West threw a lot of different things at us, but our guys did a good job of recognizing them.

"Nyle (Stevens) played unbelievable defense for us, and we got some good bench production from Nick Madison and Darren Southwell. Our other guys can put themselves in position to prove they can be a threat if teams try to gear up on stopping (Happ and Heath).''

Rockridge continued to turn up the heat in the second half, building a 17-point third quarter lead before the Chargers cut it down to 44-30 by the period's end. After a 3-pointer by Illini West's Brayden Carroll made it a 44-33 game, the Rockets were able to thwart any comeback prospects as Heath and Happ combined for 14 fourth-quarter points.


















 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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