ROCK ISLAND — From the moment the Rock Island boys' basketball team started practice a few weeks back, there was hope for good things. With that comes expectations, and with that can come early season jitters.
That is exactly what the Rocks ran into Friday night at the Rock Island Fieldhouse when they hosted Chicago Phillips in the Rock Island/Milan Booster Club Thanksgiving Classic.
The Rocks played like their hair was on fire early and Phillips was taking advantage, eventually leading 33-30 late in the first half. Then, the light went on.
Thanks to a 10-0 run, Rock Island grabbed the lead and never let down en route to an 87-52 rout.
"We missed easy opportunities in transition and around the basket," RI coach Thom Sigel said. "A little of that is to be expected in the home opener. Then, we shared the ball and really got it going. In our loss Tuesday to Culver, the ball got stuck too much and here we moved the ball."
That 10-0 run was stoked by back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup by Colton Sigel.
"We were not moving the ball and we were giving Phillips too many second chances," Colton Sigel said. "Then, we were not knocking down shots. I hadn't done much early in the game, so I felt like I needed to do something to help the team. I do like seeing the ball go in and that usually gets me going."
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Added coach Sigel, "He had to make up for the 3 in transition that got blocked, but yeah he can shoot it and can get it going. We have a lot of guys who can do that."
That's what happened in the third quarter. The Rocks continued the run and carried it to 21 straight to turn a 33-30 deficit into a 51-33 lead. From there, the 1-1 Rocks kept pouring it on.
"We don't want to rely on those kinds of runs but this is a team that can do that," coach Sigel said. "We have so many guys who can score and do so many things."
The Rocks showed their depth with five players reaching double-figure scoring and two more scored seven. Colton Sigel led the way with 16, Solomon Gustafson added 12 and Jordan Rice, Taurean Holtam and Amarion Nimmers added 10.
"We can rotate guys in and out and that's why we tell the guys we don't want them worrying about who is starting," coach Sigel said. "We can only announce five of them, but they will all get their opportunity to show what they can do.
"We know we will see different zones and man-to-man and we will have to start different lineups on one night to the next. We can play inside/out with Solomon, Malachi (Key) and Taurean or we can lean on the perimeter guys."
The younger Sigel loves the way anyone can be the guy from one possession to the next.
"It's fun to play with a group that likes each other and really no one cares who is scoring," Colton Sigel said. "People saw what we can do in this game. We have so many weapons and we had a lot of fun in that second half."
The Rocks will play twice today, battling Chicago Brooks at 12:30 and Riverton at 7.
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