With eleven seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Rockets down by two, Ben Nannen made a no-look bounce pass to Jackson Zastera under the basket and Zastera finished with the basket to send the game to overtime where the Rockets won 64-60 in district finals action on Monday, Feb. 26, at the Lourdes Central High School.
Throughout the season, the Rockets dealt with adversity with injured players and moving players to different positions on the court.
“We did come through some adversity during the year,” Coach Mark Hrabik said. “We had Trevor Brinkman out half the season with an ACL tear. We had to put guys in positions they weren’t used to. Everybody just kept playing hard and stepping up.”
Zastera finished with a game high, 18 points and the basket that sent the game to overtime.
With the score tied 54-54 in overtime, Sam Goering came off the bench and hit a big three point shot and, after that, the Bulldogs could not catch up.
After clutch free throw shooting from Nannen in overtime, Coach Hrabik said he felt his team was going to pull out the win. “I could just feel our guys sensing that we were going to go in for the kill,” Hrabik said.
As a coach, Hrabik has been to several state tournaments, this being the first time in nine years that the Rockets have made the trip.
Hrabik said that this trip is all about his players, and also said that this will be the best experience of their life.
Scoring for the Rockets were; Zastera, 18; Nannen, 15; Wil McCoy and Trevor Brinkman, 13 each; Sam Goering, three; and Christian Frederick, two.
Auburn scorers were Brody Darnell, 15; Cameron Binder, 12 and Josh Lambert, 10.
The state tournament begins March 8 for the Rockets in Lincoln. Watch the Journal-Democrat Facebook page for the time, day and location of the Rockets' first round game.