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Rockets shoot up Jets

Austin Hemmingson | Daily Press North Central’s Brien Gronmark goes up to shoot while being defended by Rapid River’s Vincent Micheau (right) Monday at Rapid River. Blocking the shot is Rapid River’s Nate Olson (23).

RAPID RIVER — The score was not indicative of how well the Rapid River boys’ basketball team played in a 68-54 win over North Central here Monday.

The Rockets jumped out to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter and led by as many as 26 in a Skyline Central Conference victory.

“That was a really good game we played overall,” Rockets’ coach Rich Poma said. “We had good balanced scoring and a lot of unselfish play. Everyone played together and for each other.”

The Rockets (5-4) shot 57 percent from the field and built a 36-21 halftime lead.

“We moved the ball extremely well,” Poma said. “You have to move a lot defensively, so when we move the ball like that there’s bound to be a chink in their armor eventually.”

Griffin Johnson scored the first four points of the game for the Jets (8-2), but nothing went right for them after that.

“We got beat in every facet of the game,” Jets’ coach Mike Malone said. “Offensively, defensively, transition — just everything. We had a lot of open looks and just shot poorly.”

The Rockets were able to keep their lead around 15 until the last minute of the third quarter. A layup by Tony DeMars with 10 seconds to go in the period pushed the lead to 52-32 entering the final frame.

“I thought we played a lot more physical on defense,” Poma said. “That translates really well because when they’re going up to shoot it’s in the back of their minds that they don’t want to get hit and it can affect their shot.”

The Jets, who shot 34 percent, scored the final 11 points in the last 1:31 to make the score more respectable.

“We just couldn’t change the pendulum swing,” Malone said. “Every time we had a kid make a play we would break down. We need to improve our energy more than anything. I can’t do it for them.”

Tyler Sundling led a balanced attack for the Rockets with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. DeMars added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Vincent Micheau scored 11. Sam Orth chipped in with 10.

“They passed really well against our pressure,” Malone said. “But Sundling is a completely different player than he was the first time we played them. Their whole team is different now, but especially him. His court vision was excellent and he’s very athletic — he sees everything.”

The Rockets have battled inconsistency, and will now look to build off of this win.

“We just have to get them focused on what we’re working towards,” Poma said. “It’s definitely a mental thing. We know we have it in us but we need to be more consistent.”

Brady Eichmeier led all scorers with 17 for the Jets, while Johnson chipped in with 14.

Rapid River, which won the jayvee game 54-45, visits Bark River-Harris Thursday.

North Central hosts Mid Peninsula Jan. 22.

North Central 13 8 11 22 — 54

Rapid River 22 14 16 16 — 68

North Central — Eichmeier 17, Johnson 14, Bentley 8, Bellmore 6, Gorzinski 4, Timblin 3, Holle 2. F: 10; FT: 5-12; Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Eichmeier 2, Johnson 2, Timblin.

Rapid River — Sundling 15, DeMars 11, Micheau 11, Orth 10, Lundquist 9, Moss 5, Olson 3, Sefcik 2, Stumpf 2. F: 9; FT: 4-8; Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Micheau 3, Lundquist, Moss, Olson.

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