Rocks lose their clutch, fall in State Farm title game


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Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2012, 9:21 pm
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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com
BLOOMINGTON -- Clutch plays carried the Rock Island boys' basketball team to uncharted territory.

A lack of them kept the Rocks from extending the run.

The inability to finish at key times on the offense end coupled with defensive lapses ended Rocky's quest for a first. North Chicago exploited those miscues, handing the Rocks a 69-61 loss on Saturday night in their first-ever appearance in the State Farm Holiday Classic championship game at the Shirk Center.

"We were missing that clutch play," Rocky senior guard Brian Richardson said. "We just couldn't get that shot we needed."

Nor could the Rocks (11-3) get a defensive stop.

Trailing the entire second half, Rocky would get a basket or convert foul shots to stay close. Each time the Rocks rallied, North Chicago (14-1) would get a transition bucket or second-chance points.

In the fourth quarter, the Warhawks scored on all but seven possessions.

"We've got to get better at battling all the time," Rocky coach Thom Sigel said. "When you play good teams and have lapses, you're going to have a tough time winning."

There were stretches of offensive fortune for the Rocks, especially early in the fourth quarter. C.J. Carr's basket with 4:41 left capped a spurt that whittled an eight-point deficit to 52-48. After Timothy Dixon missed two fouls shots on the ensuing possession, Rocky then had a chance to pull within one possession.

However, the Rocks missed a shot, leading to an 8-0 North Chicago run over the next minute. JayQuan McCloud's 3-pointer from the left corner in the middle of the run proved to be the dagger the Warhawks needed.

"We had a lot of plays we took off," Carr said. "They took advantage. That's our fault."

Anytime the Rocks got close, North Chicago countered with a punch.

"They just handled our pressure well," Richardson said.

For the most part, Rocky handled the Warhawks' pressure and athleticism. But when it came time for a key basket or defensive stand, the Rocks could not finish.

Other than that one possession where they were down 52-48 midway through the fourth quarter, the Rocks never were closer to getting the lead.

"We were rushing too much," said Carr, who capped his all-tournament performance with 18 points and four assists. "Their pressure sped us up. We were playing their game instead of our game."

What hurt Rocky all night was the Warhawks' offensive rebounds. North Chicago grabbed 15 offensive boards, leading to 20 second-chance points.

"Way too many offensive rebounds," Richardson said.

And not enough clutch plays.

"They were good. They were fast," said Richardson, who had a team-high 24 points. "They just played well."

That kept Rocky, which lost senior forward Raahsaan Brown to a left ankle injury in the third quarter, from winning the tournament for the first time in 11 appearances.

"We missed out on a way better trophy than we're taking home," Richardson said. "But all in all, we played pretty well and learned a lot."


















 



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  Today is Friday, July 25, the 206th day of 2014. There are 159 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Walter Jones, of Co, F 23rd Ky, volunteers, lost a satchel on the Camden road, yesterday, containing his papers of discharge from the army.
1889 -- 125 years ago: E. W. Robinson purchased from Mrs. J.T. Miller the livery stable on the triangle south of Market square.
1914 -- 100 years ago: A municipal; bathing beach was advocated at the weekly meeting of the city commission by commissioner Rudgren, who suggested the foot of Seventh Street as an excellent location.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Floyd Shetter, Rock Island county superintendent schools, announced teachers hired for nearly all of the 95 rural and village grade schools in the county.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The mercury officially reached the season's previous high of 95 about noon today and continued upward toward an expected mark of 97.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Fort Armstrong hotel once the wining and dining chambers of Rock Island's elite is under repair. Progress is being made though at a seeming snail's pace to return the building to a semblance of its past glory for senior citizen's homes.








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