Posted Online: Dec. 04, 2012, 10:41 pm

Rockridge still craves more after WCC win over Orion

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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Orion senior Dylan Schultz tries to get around Rockridge's TJ Henry in Edgington on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Rockridge guard Bryan Heath maneuvers around Orion's Jake Schulenberg in Edgington on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
EDGINGTON -- One glance at the final score could not cure Rockridge boys' basketball coach Toby Whiteman's disappointment.

In his eyes, the performance overshadowed the outcome.

Suggesting the Rockets relied too much on their athleticism during their 71-47 West Central Conference victory over Orion caused some frustration in the post-game locker room. Rockridge gladly takes the win, but from its perspective, it hardly was a masterpiece.

"We played hard. We're doing some nice things offensively, but I didn't think we executed great," Whiteman said. "We were successful a lot because of our athletic ability."

The stats show the Rockets (6-0, 2-0 WCC), off to their best start in 35 years, were strong on offense, shooting 47 percent (31 of 66) from the field and committing five turnovers. Whiteman, though, noticed Rockridge struggling to adapt to Orion's changing defenses and failing to do the little things that do not make the boxscore.

Screens, cuts, and ball reversals were things Whiteman said the Rockets, who received 29 points and 20 rebounds from junior forward Ethan Happ, did not do.

Despite that, Orion (3-4, 0-2) struggled to consistently get stops.

"They're a good basketball team," said Orion coach Brent Hutton, who received 13 points from Dakota Grant. "They have a lot of kids who compete very well on the floor. Not only are they athletes, they're great basketball players. You've got to guard so many of them. They took advantage of the weak spots we had."

The defense caused problems as well. Rockridge limited the Chargers to 14 first-half points and held them without a field goal for nearly nine minutes in one stretch. Orion had four field goals in the first half.

"We want to play our best on defense," Rockridge senior forward Nyle Stevens said. "We try to hold opponents to a low margin. That gives us a pretty good chance to win."

Whiteman hopes that the constant defensive pressure can carry over to the offense.

"When we don't do the right things and we don't play basketball like we should, I don't care if we win or lose, I'm going to let you know," Whiteman said. "When we play basketball the way we should, I'm happy."

Rockridge, which received 18 points from sophomore guard Bryan Heath, wants to reach that point. Even the players know they can play better.

"That's what motivates us," Stevens said. "We see how good we can be. We want to get to that level."

A 24-point league win is a good start.

"I'm happy, but there's a lot of work to do," Whiteman said. "If you ask those guys, that's what they want."