After enduring a tough run of seven games, the Rockets boys’ basketball team entered a week of rest on Monday knowing their identity and feeling confident about their ability to compete against top teams.
S-D-A won’t play this week until a Friday clash at Arlington.
Looking back, the Rockets played a pair of tough pre-Christmas contests with a home loss against Lincoln Christian and a road win over Lincoln Lutheran. Tough challenges continued at holiday tourney time with the Rockets scoring a pair of victories against Auburn, 8-3, and Lourdes, 8-3.
Last week, the challenges continued with the Rockets playing at home against the No. 1 team in Class C2 in Elmwood-Murdock, 11-0, and then traveling for clashes against Wahoo, 7-2, and Louisville, 7-3.
S-D-A dropped two of the three contests last week, one of those set backs coming on the road in overtime. In all instances, however, the Rockets left the gym feeling as though they could have won, which is definitely important.
Coach Hrabik said the Rockets’ identity is one of a great shooting team with respectable ability to take the ball to the hoop. When the shots are falling, that makes the Rockets extremely tough to defend.
Against Elmwood-Murdock, the Rockets didn’t have their shot going, which complicated their efforts, and the Knights were able to get offense despite efforts to adjust by S-D-A.
“We gave up too much penetration from the baseline,” said Coach Hrabik, noting that much of scoring leader Wes Dreamer’s 25 points came off just such offensive action.
The Rockets attempted to slow Dreamer and the Knights but couldn’t find the right defensive strategy for that effort.
Still the game came right down to the end. It was a five-point Knight lead after three quarters and a two-point game late in the fourth frame. The Rockets failed to hit a bucket that would have tied the game and then had to foul, which allowed Elmwood-Murdock to enhance its margin of victory at the free throw line.
“We had our chances,” said Hrabik.
On Friday, the Rockets traveled to Wahoo and gave the Warriors an admirable fight on their home floor before falling short in an overtime decision.
The three-point shooting stats show the Rockets’ perimeter ability as four players drilled a trio of three-point shots. Trevor Brinkman, Christian Frederick, Monty Roberts and Ben Nannen each hit three perimeter shots. Ethan Zastera also had a three-pointer.
“It was probably our most complete game from an offensive standpoint,” said Hrabik.
Wahoo had moments when it looked like the Warriors might stretch a lead and run away with the result. S-D-A was having none of that. And, at one point, the Rockets led by six in the fourth quarter.
Three pointers helped Wahoo tie the game, and, after it went to overtime, the Warriors hit two more three point shots in the early portion of the extra frame to take control on the way to victory.
There was a definite sting to the final result for S-D-A. Wins on the Wahoo court are rare, but the Rockets had a great chance to get it.
“We just didn’t finish it off and that was disappointing,” said Hrabik.
On Saturday, the Rockets, no doubt a bit tired from Friday’s battle at Wahoo, found a way to out score Louisville. Coach Hrabik noted that his team enjoyed double digit leads in the first and second half. Louisville fought hard to keep the game close but had to foul Roberts in the late going. And the 80-plus percent free throw shooter converted chances that allowed for S-D-A to get the win.
No matter how the win was to come, Coach Hrabik and the Rockets were very willing to take it.
“After a tough emotional game the night before, I was just happy to get away with the win,” Hrabik said.
Looking at the overall picture, the Rockets felt a measure of confidence with the results of the last seven games. This week was to be about rest and fine tuning.

S-D-A Boys 61, Louisville 59
Leading scorers for the Rockets in the win were Monty Roberts, 25; Ethan Zastera, 13; Trevor Brinkman, nine; Ben Nannen, six; Cody Ryan, three; Christian Frederick, three; Blake Zoller, two;

Wahoo 81, S-D-A Boys 72
Leading scores for the Rockets in the loss were Ben Nannen, 18; Ethan Zastera, 15; Monty Roberts, 14; Christian Frederick, 12; Trevor Brinkman, nine; and Blake Zoller, two.

Elmwood-Murdock 50,
S-D-A Boys 43
Leading scorers for the Rockets in the loss were Monty Roberts, 12; Ethan Zastera, 12; Trevor Brinkman, nine; Christian Frederick, five; and Ben Nannen, five.