OKAWVILLE
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Okawville Rockets finally got over the hump last season as the reached Peoria and the Final Four for the first time in the four-class era and the also the first time at the state finals since 1987.

Head coach Jon Kraus in his 17th season as the head coach of this program, made it all the way to the championship game before losing in overtime to Effingham St. Anthony.

The second place trophy is a nice prize but not the one that this team thought that they were going to get.

Coach Kraus said goodbye to the school's all-time leading scorer and arguably the best player in the school's history last spring as 6-foot-4 senior Noah Frederking left to go to the University of Evansville to play Division I basketball.

He finished his career with some astonishing numbers: 2,844-points, 977-rebounds and his teams were 108-27 in his four seasons at the school.
He netted 845-points as a senior as the Rockets finished the run at 32-4.

Also gone from the second place team was another senior standout; Shane Ganz, a guard who was second on the team in scoring.

Drew Frederking, Logan Riechmann, Kirklen Meier and Josh Madrid were the other seniors from last season who have moved on.

Rockets return just one starter in Caleb Frederking, a 6-foot-2 senior, who averaged a modest 5.6 points a game as a junior.

Two other players who filled important roles last season off the bench for the Rockets were 5-foot-10 senior Payten Harre and 6-foot-7 senior Luke Hensler.

Both of those players have potential heading into this season.

Coach Kraus will have some others ready to step up.

Six-foot-three junior Will Aubel has improved his strength and shooting over the summer and will play a big role for Okawville, according to Coach Kraus.

Lane Schilling, a 6-foot-1 senior, is a strong inside defender that is willing to do the dirty work for the Rockets.

Five-foot-eleven junior Payton Riechmann will also be a factor for Okawville this season.

“If this group can continue to improve through the season, we will be ready for another deep post season run,” said Coach Kraus. “We have always played a very strong schedule year in and year out. This year will be no different as the schedule has remained difficult. I look for the area to be very balanced this year and many teams fighting for the top spot in the area from week to week.”

OUTLOOK – There is no doubt about the Rockets missing the senior group that just left the building. The records speak for themselves. But this coach has some talent to work with and that Independent gauntlet of games that they play each year will have them primed for another February move. They could easily find themselves in another sectional this coming March.

2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULES
N25-D2 Carlyle Kaskaskian Classic J15-20 Okawville Invitational Tournament

D5

@ Sesser-Valier J26 Columbia
D8 Campbell Hill Trico J27 @ Lebanon
D12 @ Greenville J30 @ Freeburg
D15 Steeleville F2 @ Roxana
D22 Waterloo Gibault Catholic F9 @ Red Bud
D26-29 Breese Mater Dei Holiday Tournament F13 Sparta
J6 @ Nashville F16 @ Breese Central
J9 Waltonville F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD
J12 Trenton Wesclin F25-M2 IHSA Sectional TBD