Rockets romp into sectional final
Okawville's big defensive effort in 62-36 triumph; Frederking nets 23-points
OKAWVILLE – This season the Okawville Rockets have dealt with the added pressure of being a preseason number one team in the state in Class 1A and a favorite to get to Peoria.

Although there were a few anxious moments in their 62-36 win Tuesday night over Carrollton, they were few and far between as defensively they took the Hawks completely out of their element as Coach Jon Kraus saw his team improve to 29-3 on the season with the semifinal victory on their own floor.

With a large crowd at Okawville High School's “O-Rena” looking on, it was the Rockets' “D” that came up big in the win.

Okawville blanketed Coach Jeff Krumweide's club, forcing a 14-of-40 night shooting (35 percent) and seven first quarter turnovers as the Hawks fell behind early.

Carrollton never really recovered as their season came to a close at 18-13.

Evansville University signee Noah Frederking led all scorers with 23-points and 5-foot-9 junior guard Payten Harre "harpooned" the Hawks with three consecutive 3-point shots in the second quarter (four total in a row) as the Rockets pulled out to a commanding advantage that they wouldn't relinquish.

Senior guard Shane Ganz added 14-points to the totals with Harre ended up with four treys and 12-points.

“If we could just keep them in the halfcourt they would have a hard time scoring,” said Coach Kraus. “Out defense was locked in from the start. We did a great job of forcing some turnovers and when their kids caught the ball we put pressure on them. They got some open court on us a couple of times in the second quarter but once we eliminated their easy buckets we stopped them. Our number one thing tonight was to make them score over the top of us.”

Although they had some moments on the offensive end when they didn't get the job done, the defensive end had few flaws.

Carrollton senior guard Jeremy Watson led the Hawks with 18-points, but no other Hawks' player had more than four-points.

Watson managed to get the Hawks going by driving to the basket early on and he got to the foul line to make a pair of free throws to cut the early Rockets' lead to just 9-6 with 4:14 left in the opening quarter.

Then the Rockets burst into their first big offensive run, one of several that doomed the Hawks.

Harre nailed his first of four 3-point bombs and Ganz converted on a pair of drives in the lane to close the quarter at 16-6 Okawville.

Then Harre continued the streak, nailing three more from the arc to open the second quarter.

His third one pushed the Rockets to a 25-6 lead.

“Anytime a kid (Harre) can make four in a row like that, our spread went from four or six up to 18 just like that. That kind of deflates a team,” said Coach Kraus. “He is capable for sure. “

A Noah Frederking three-point play made it 28-8 before the Hawks put together their only good offensive run to make things interesting.

Carrollton, behind Watson and sophomore teammate Lance Schelt, responded.

The pair started the only true run of the night for Carrollton with a couple of baskets along with a drive by senior Jerrett Smith.

Sophomore Nathan Walker also got a bucket on a fast break that forced an Okawville timeout at 28-16.

The run closed at 12-1 with another drive by Walker to make it 29-20.

“Our kids have character and I knew that they wouldn't lay over,” said Coach Krumweide. “Their defensive pressure is what got them what they needed to start. We are a 18-12 team and they are a 28-3 team on their home floor with a D-I player. That is about all that needs to be said.”

A pair of free throws by Ganz closed the half as the Rockets breathed a sigh of relief heading to the lockerroom.

The senior leadership of Okawville shined bright in the third quarter, removing the drama and doubt with a big third quarter.

Noah Frederking stepped up and nailed consecutive 3-point bombs to get the quarter off to a bang.

A bucket by Ganz and another three-point play by Frederking made it 42-25.

Coach Kraus' club smelled the blood in the water and went in for the kill, scoring 10-straight points to close the frame.

Frederking finished the quarter with another three-point conversion to put the game on ice at 54-28.

Frederking and Ganz each added 3-pointers before Coach Kraus called off the hounds at 60-30 with 5:44 left.

The Rockets ended up 23-of-49 from the field but were 9-of-22 from downtown.

Okawville held a slight 26-23 rebounding edge and they committed 11-turnovers, but most were well after the outcome was settled.

The Hawks were just 1-of-11 from the arc and committed 13-turnovers total.

The Rockets will play again Friday night against the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal between New Berlin and Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran.

Friday's game will tip at 7 pm.

“The one thing this year is that has really helped us is that we have a great bench and we have some different players that can come in and make shots,” said Coach Kraus. “It's not always the same kids. We have some different weapons. It makes it difficult to guard us the way they like to.”

Carrollton (36) – Brannan 1 0 0-0 2, Schnelt 0 0 0-0 0, Arnett 0 0 0-0 0, Waters 0 0 0-0 0, Watson 4 1 7-8 18, Settles 1 0 0-0 2, Smith 2 0 0-0 4, Walker 2 0 0-0 4, Flowers 0 0 0-0 0, Schnettgoecke 1 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Varble 0 0 0-0 0, Stendeback 1 0 0-0 2, Campbell 1 0 0-0 2..
2FG-13, 3FG-1, FT-7-8, PF-11.

Okawville (62)
– Harre 0 4 0-0 12, Madrid 0 1 0-0 3, C. Frederking 2 0 0-0 4, Hensler 1 0 0-0 2, Krohne 1 0 0-0 2, Ganz 4 1 3-4 14, D. Frederking 0 0 0-0 0, N. Frederking 5 3 4-5 23, Reichmann 0 0 0-0 0, Schilling 0 0 0-0 0, Meier 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-14, 3FG-9, FT-7-9, PF-9.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.