Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2012, 9:43 pm

'Bad game' carries Rockridge to first loss

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MACOMB — The Rockridge boys' basketball team's bid for the Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament championship ended with a thud.

Another injury coupled with a shaky third-quarter performance on Thursday were too much for the Rockets to overcome in a 66-41 loss to Mason City Illini Central in the tournament quarterfinal at Macomb High School. Rockridge suffered its first loss of the season, ending a 10-game winning streak.

"To be honest, it was one of those games where we didn't do the things we talked about doing," Rockridge coach Toby Whiteman said. "That was pretty much it."

Rockridge meets West Hancock in the fifth-place bracket at 9 this morning at Western Hall.

The first quarter set the tone for the Rockridge loss. Senior guard Nyle Stevens suffered a left ankle injury, which kept him out the duration of the game. Whiteman said Stevens is out the rest of the tournament.

Stevens' injury meant the Rockets were playing without two starters. Junior forward Ethan Happ already is out with a knee injury.

"We came here to play good teams and be put in situations that made our team feel uncomfortable," Whiteman said. "This was the perfect example. We didn't handle things well tonight."

Rockridge entered the third quarter facing a 27-22 deficit, but was outscored 25-9 in the frame. That deficit was too much to overcome.

Entering the game, the Rockets had won every game by 19 points or more.

"It's a learning experience," Whiteman said. "It's one of those things where we didn't play very well offensively or defensively. We had no transition game. We just had a bad game. Mentally, we weren't in it."

Bryan Heath scored a team-high 17 points and added seven rebounds and three assists for the Rockets.