Tough non-league schedule giving Rockets headaches

By Jim Manion | Correspondent Published:

By Jim Manion | Correspondent

Streetsboro continues to play one of the toughest schedules in the area, and unfortunately for the Rockets, they have taken it on the chin several times.

The Rockets closed out the calendar year with a tough 30-point loss to a tough Hudson team. Last week, they lost a 20-point decision to CVCA, which is the No. 1 seed in their district.

On Tuesday, they lost to another No. 1 tournament seed, when Poland Seminary made it look easy with a 75-52 non-league victory on the Rockets' hardwood.

A disappointed Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini said it didn't matter who they were playing because his team failed to show up.

"Poland is a good team, they shoot well," said Marcini. "We are not playing very well offensively and the defense is not much better. We are not playing team basketball, we are playing very selfish and this is not the team that beat Norton. If we play like that Friday, we will get run right out of their gym."

The Rockets (11-8) have the opportunity to move into a first-place tie with Norton in the Portage Trail Conference Metro race if they could beat the Panthers on Friday. Streetsboro beat Norton on Jan. 8, 51-49, and trail them by a game with two division games remaining. If Norton wins Friday, the Panthers will clinch an outright championship.

As for Tuesday's game, six first-half 3-pointers helped the Bulldogs run out to a 36-22 advantage at intermission. Poland went on an 11-1 run to end the first quarter for a 20-8 lead after one.

Kyle Dixon hit a pair of 3s in the first quarter, then finished the run when the Bulldogs scored the final 10 points in the paint. Dixon went to the hole for the final three layup baskets of the quarter and finished the first half with 15 points.

Jordan Matusik became Streetsboro's single-season 3-point record-holder when he hit his third trey in the second quarter. His 59th successful 3 topped the record of Matt Cipra from the 1996-97 team. Matusik's 3 cut the Poland lead to 28-20, which was the closest since the first quarter. Matusik came back on the next trip down the floor and went inside, ran the baseline and scored to cut the deficit to only six points.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, that would be their final basket of the half and Poland would go on a 8-0 run when George Chammas hit a long jumper at the buzzer with his foot was on the 3-point line. His long two-pointer gave the Dogs a 36-22 lead.

The Bulldogs (17-2) pushed their lead to a 20-point margin midway through the third quarter and led by 18 after three 54-36. Streetsboro's Brandon Gency ignited a short rally when he scored a pair of buckets and Paul Jenkins hit for six straight points as the Rockets went on a 12-4 run. However, the Dogs would score the final seven points for the final verdict.

Gency led the Rockets with 17 points, hitting three 3s, while he also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Matusik finished the night with 11 points, hitting three 3s.

The leader for Poland was Jacob Wolfe with 22 points, while Dixon finished with 15 points, not scoring in the second half.

Chammas scored 10 for the Bulldogs as 10 players hit the scoring column.

A sellout is expected in Norton on Friday when the Metro Division title is on the line. The Rockets will continue their tough non-league schedule the following week when they travel to Nordonia, another No. 1 tournament seed.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.