Rockets edge Nashville
Okawville uses 9-0 to get 69-63 win; improve to 13-2
OKAWVILLE – Heading into Saturday night's game at Washington County rival Okawville, coach Brad Weathers and his Nashville Hornets weren't in the best of moods after dropping a tough decision on the road at Pinckneyville on Friday night.

By the end of their contest on Saturday, the mood wasn't any better.

The Hornets, despite 25-points and five-rebounds from senior center Brogan Kemp and a strong rebounding effort as a team, lost on the road to the Rockets, 69-63 to fall to 10-5 overall on the season.

In a battled of defensive minded programs, it was the offenses that dominated the game for all but three crucial minutes in the final quarter.

Coach Jon Kraus saw his Rockets go on a 9-0 run by forcing some mistakes and bad shots by Nashville to turn the momentum and the score into their favor.

The Rockets “blast off” turned a 56-55 deficit into a 64-56 led in just 2:40 of playing time.

In this span, the Hornets had three empty possessions, which led to their fifth loss of the season and their second loss in 24-hours.

Getting 24-points and nine-rebounds from 6-foot-4 senior forward and all-state candidate Noah Frederking, while getting to the foul line more often that their guests, Okawville improved to 13-2 on the season with the win in front of a huge crowd at the O-Rena.

The ABV top-ranked 1A team as well as number two in the recent AP all-state poll also got three other players in double-figures in scoring with 6-foot-3 senior Shane Ganz and 6-foot-2 junior Caleb Frederking with 11-points each.

“I don't think anyone expected this tonight. We wanted to limit Noah's touches tonight. We didn't want him to get going because he can 'light it up',” said Coach Weathers, about both teams dominating offensively. “They were a matchup problem for us when they took their big kid out and went four guards and we were a matchup problem for them with Kemp in the post.”

Five-foot-eight senior guard Josh Madrid added 10-points for Okawville, including a pair of important 3-point shots in the first half.

“I think he (Noah) has learned to not force things, he let the game come to him tonight.” said Coach Kraus. “Most of his stuff was from taking what they gave him. I think that is the biggest step he has made this year.”

Bryce Bultman, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, popped home 16-points while 6-foot-3 senior Ryan Brink tossed in 13 for the Hornets.

Nashville was the team that was hot early.

A bit more accurately it was Kemp that was nearly unstoppable.

The lefty had his way in the paint for Nashville, dominating inside to the point where he had the first one trying to defend him (6-foot-5 senior Kirkland Meier) on the bench with two early personal fouls.

Kemp drove to the basket and forced the first foul on Meier, which turned into a three-point play.

Seconds later Meier fouled him again and went to the bench at the 6:25 mark.

Kemp's converted free throws gave the Hornets a 7-2 advantage.

“We guarded the way we wanted to guard, but we just didn't do a great job of keeping Kemp to his strong hand and we let him get a little deeper on us than we liked,” said Coach Kraus. “I thought both teams played well offensively. They (Nashville) got the shots they wanted and we took advantage of some of the areas and hit some outside shots. But they hit some outside shots, too. The shots were going in for both teams.”

Nashville's largest lead of the contest came two minutes later as Bultman canned a 3-pointer and Kemp scored again in the paint.

While the Hornets were trying to get inside, Okawville delivered their points from the perimeter.

Coach Kraus saw his team heat up from the arc with Ganz and junior guard Payten Harre (eight-points total) hitting long shots.

After two more buckets by Kemp, the Rockets scored back-to-back baskets by Caleb and Noah Frederking to close the quarter at 18-17 Nashville.

The two teams were a combined 14-of-26 in the opening eight minutes as the offensive tone was set for the contest.

The second quarter featured seven lead changes as the two teams traded offensive hay-makers.

Okawville netted five 3-pointers in the period while Nashville put in a pair of trifectas and more points inside from Kemp and Bultman.

After the Hornets took back the lead 36-35 on a score by Kemp, the Rockets closed the half with a bucket by Ganz and then a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Madrid.

Okawville had the ball with 1:31 remaining and decided to hold the ball for the final shot of the half.

Madrid stood near the halfcourt line and the clock ticked away while the Hornets backed off of the pressure.

With the clock winding down, Madrid drove forward from the top of the arc.

He then calmly stepped back beyond the line and his left-handed 20-footer ripped the net as the horn sounded for a 40-36 lead at the break.

“I thought we were tired. I felt they were tired, too, after playing last night. And I thought if we could stay out there and dribble it for a minute and a half being up one we could go to halftime and regroup,” said Coach Kraus. “I told him (Madrid) just walk up there and shoot the thing with two-seconds to go. He's a good shooter and they left him open. He can make shots.”

The trading of scores trend showed no signs of letting up in the third quarter as neither team put together any sort of scoring run.

Noah Frederking got to the basket on a drive down the baseline for reverse lay in while being fouled by Kemp.

His three-point play gave Okawville a 45-40 lead.

Bultman answered with his second 3-pointer and he later added a score on a lob pass inside from Kemp.

Another score by Noah Frederking and the second of two 3-pointers from Madrid sent the teams to the final quarter at 50-49.

The two teams added five more lead changes in the early part of the final quarter.

Noah Frederking scored nine of his points in the fourth and his 3-pointer from the top of the circle gave Okawville back the lead at 55-54.

Bultman made perhaps the best offensive move of the night, driving the right baseline and behind his back for a lay in and a 56-55 Hornets' edge.

Then the Rockets made their 9-0 victory run.

N. Frederking hit a pair of free throws and 5-foot-9 senior Logan Riechmann hit his only shot of the game, a key 3-point bomb from the right corner for a 60-56 spread.

“I thought Logan Riechmann had the biggest shot of the night. He doesn't shoot a lot of 3's. It might have been the only shot he took all night but he shot it and made it,” said Coach Kraus. “I thought that was a huge three at the time.”

Kemp picked up his fourth foul on a charge with 4:49 left and Okawville did a great job of spreading the floor.

They picked up a pair of scores with Caleb Frederking driving to the basket for a bucket (see photo) and 5-foot-9 junior Payten Harre scored his only points of the night on a back door cut to the basket on a pass from Noah Frederking to close the sprint.

“We had three trips down were we either had poor shot selection or we had a turnover and I think they converted on all of them,” said Coach Weathers. “We needed to do a better job on our decisions during that stretch.”

A Brink 3-pointer and a Bultman drive got Nashville within 64-61 but the Rockets locked up the win with 5-of-7 free throws in the final 1:21.

The tail of the tape was a strange one with the Hornets out-rebounding the hosts 23-13 unofficially with the Rockets not getting a single offensive rebound.

Both teams shot the ball well, which left very few second chance opportunities for either club.

Okawville hit 23-of-39 overall (58.9 percent) while the Hornets hit 50 percent overall (27-of-54).

“I thought both teams battled defensively but I think it was just a little bit better offense tonight by both teams,” said Coach Kraus.

The Rockets hit half of their 3-pointers (11-of-22) and got to the foul line more readily.

Coach Kraus saw his club hit 12-of-15 from the foul line with Noah Frederking hitting 9-of-10.

Okawville with hit the road this week playing at Waltonville and Wesclin on Tuesday and Friday while Nashville will face Greenville and Du Quoin at home.

“We had three trips down were we either had poor shot selection or we had a turnover and I think they converted on all of them,” said Coach Weathers. “We needed to do a better job on our decisions during that stretch.”

Nashville (63) – Schnitker 1 0 0-0 2, Heggemeier 2 1 0-0 7, Bultman 5 2 0-0 16, Meier 0 0 0-0 0, Brink 2 3 0-0 13, Parker 0 0 0-0 0, Briles 0 0 0-0 0, Kemp 11 0 3-3 25.
2FG-21, 3FG-6, FT-3-3, PF-16.

Okawville (69)
– Harre 1 2 0-0 8, Madrid 1 2 2-2 10, C. Frederking 1 3 0-1 11, Riechmann 0 1 0-0 3, Ganz 2 2 1-2 11, N. Frederking 6 1 9-10 24, Meier 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-12, 3FG-11, FT-12-15, PF-7.

Fouled Out
– Kemp - Nashville.
Technical Fouls
– None.