The Rams boys basketball team played with "One Hearbeat" all season. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
GREENVILLE – The Rockford boys varsity basketball team took a trip to Greenville to compete in their MHSAA District Boys Basketball opener, Monday, Feb. 25. The Rams fell to the undefeated Forest Hills Northern Huskies by a score of 52-44.
“Obviously a heart-breaking loss for our team, but I am incredibly proud of the way they laid it on the line,” shared Ram head coach Kyle Clough. “To come into the state tournament and have to face a 20-0 team is not easy, and our kids fearlessly stepped up to the challenge and gave themselves a great chance to win. With under two minutes we had two or three opportunities to take the lead, and I felt like if we had done that, we may not have given it back.”
The Rams, indeed, were able to keep pace with the talented Huskies the entire game, knotting it in the first quarter 10-10, and seeing a slim 5-point deficit with a score of 23-18. The Rams whittled it to just a 2-point deficit at the end of the third quarter with the scoreboard sitting at 36-34. The fourth quarter found the Huskies being able to tally 16 points to put the game away 52-44, to move on in district play.
“Our kids executed the game plan to perfection on defense,” said Clough. “We knew we had to muck it up out there, as they were averaging 77 points per game. We had them in the 40s with two minutes, so on the defensive side, we did everything we needed to in order to win. Offensively, we just needed to make a couple free throws, or one more big shot, and we would have been playing on Wednesday night. Really proud of the team and the way they played. I couldn’t ask for a whole lot more.”
Nate Bareno paced the Rams with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Brendan Schueller tallied eight points and two assists, and Ashton Pokorzynski and Andrew Carlson chipped in seven points apiece.
“It’s sad to see the season end,” shared Clough. “This team really stuck together and played for each other the entire season. There were a lot of tears in that locker room, and while that’s hard, it is evidence that this season meant a lot to the players and coaches, and that’s a very big step for our program. We want to be a contender in this state again, and this group, especially these seniors, helped us take a really big step back in that direction.”