The Alleman girls basketball team didn't know what hit them.|
Rock Island came out in a fury, and used a flurry of players, to run away with a 67-44 win in the Western Big 6 Conference opener Tuesday night at Rock Island High School.
Implementing a new offense this year that works similar to what Galesburg has been running the past couple of years, Rocky is taking advantage of its depth and team speed.
The Rocks forced Alleman into 24 turnovers, and turned up the tempo the entire night.
"We didn't really know what it was going to look like," Alleman coach Jay Hatch said of the running Rocks. "We were guessing and we guessed wrong. Now, we have a month and a half to learn and be ready for the next time we play them."
The Pioneers just couldn't keep up with Rocky, which pressured the ball from endline to endline on defense and went as fast as it could on offense to get to the basket.
At times it looked fluid, and at other times it was disorganized chaos. Scoring 22 points in the first quarter, the rout seemed to be on. But then things stalled and Rocky only scored eight points in the second quarter.
"We're still learning a lot, but we have to keep progressing," Rocky coach Thad Hoover said. "I liked the effort tonight. We just started this about two-and-a-half weeks ago so we're not going to be crisp for a while."
The game was only close once, as Alleman cut it to a 10-point game midway through the third quarter. That's when Shavonne Brewer stepped up big and put the game back out of reach, all by herself.
The senior captain first drained a 3-pointer. On the next possession, she hit a free-throw-line pull-up jumper. Alleman called a timeout, but that didn't slow down Brewer. The Pioneers couldn't get the ball past midcourt as Brewer stole it and went in for a layup.
Just like that, 7 points in 30 seconds and the game was back out of reach.
"There were a few possessions where they started to close us down, and I knew I had to make something happen," Brewer said. "If there wasn't a shot, I was looking to get someone open to make a shot."
Brewer was just 1-for-6 in the first half, but got some much needed advice in the locker room.
"I told Coach (Henry) Hall that I just couldn't get in a rhythm and he calmed me down," Brewer said. "He just said, 'Relax, they're going to protect the basket and not let you drive, so pull up. You'll be all right.'"
Brewer did just that and helped the Rocks roll to a 4-0 record to start the season.
So far, in the new system, these running Rocks have averaged more than 70 points a game.
In the loss, the Pioneers (3-1, 0-1 WB6) continued to come together as Anna Wetherell played a stellar game, and was complemented by Isabelle Anderson and Dominique Davis.
Anne Bohnert led the Pioneers with 11 points, Erin Morrisey chipped in 9 and Wetherell had a game-high 8 rebounds.
Brewer led the way for Rocky with 17 points, but Cairece Allen had 15 and Mercedes Jackson added 13 to balance the effort. Both Jackson and Clark had 7 rebounds to lead Rocky.
The Rocks know that even if this win came easy, the second time around for the city championship won't be a walk in the park.
"The second time through we won't have the element of surprise," Hoover said.
For now though, the Rocky girls are queens of the city.
Sherrard, IL Details
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