Trailing 11-10 early, the Okawville Rockets floored the gas pedal Wednesday and quickly put the the Morrisonville Mohawks in their rear-view mirror.
A 14-0 run in the first half help create plenty of separation as the Rockets delivered an impressive 78-35 victory over the Mohawks in the semifinals of the Class 1A Okawville Sectional.
“We want to win it all,” said Okawville sophomore Noah Frederking, who missed five of his first six shots and still scored 19 points in a little less than three quarters to help the Rockets reach their first sectional final since 2009. “That’s it. We’ve got a good shot I feel, at home here.”
Okawville (24-9) will take a 13-game winning streak into the 7 p.m. sectional championship game Friday against Carrollton (27-4).
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Brad Fuhrhop added 14 points, Nick Strubhart had 10 and Alec Wisneski and Mason Drury added nine each in the Rockets’ most lopsided win this season. The fact that it came in the sectional semifinals showed how business-like coach Jon Kraus’ team is despite facing the obvious lose-and-go-home situation.
Okawville hit nine of 12 shots during the second quarter, outscoring the Mohawks 25-6 during that span.
Morrisonville (19-11), which won its first regional title since 1979, was held to a total of nine field goals on the night and a total of three combined during the second and third quarters. The Mohawks also committed 13 of their 23 turnovers in the first half.
“Any time you get a win it’s good,” Kraus said. “The pace of the game was key for us. We just thought if we could play at a really fast pace that was to our advantage. Even thought they made some shots early, I liked the pace of the game and I felt pretty comfortable right from the start.”
It was easy to feel comfortable watching a lead balloon from 12-11 to 44-17 at halftime. The Rockets’ defense had plenty to do with that as the heavily pressured Mohawks were 5-for-20 from the floor in the first half and 9-for-38 overall.
“They’re a good shooting team and we just tried to run them off the 3-point line most of the time, force them to the middle,” Frederking said. “We’ll take our chances in the middle rather than letting them shoot wide open threes. We watched a video and they were hitting everything.
“They weren’t hitting it tonight, that’s why they didn’t play very well.”
The Rockets had 11 3-pointers, but six of those came in the second half when things were already out of reach.
Morrisonville coach Dane Walter felt his team’s hesitancy had as much to do with Okawville quickly taking command as the Rockets did.
“We came out and we were running our offense well and taking our shots that we look to take,” Walter said. “Then for a couple minutes we went away from our offense and weren’t hustling back on defense. They’re a good ballclub, I think we put them on a pedestal because we sat around too much.
“But not taking anything away from them, they’ve got a lot of weapons.”
Walter felt his team may have gotten caught up in the moment.
“They caused some turnovers with some jump traps,” he said. “But I felt like we stood around and we didn’t take advantage of the situations we could have early on. We gave them a couple points on rebounds where we just handed it to them right underneath their basket. We didn’t get the job done.”
Austin Deal paced Morrisonville with 14 points and Seth Foster had eight.
Already looking ahead to the sectional final, Frederking didn’t seem overly impressed with the victory.
“It was nice, obviously, but it was just another game,” he said. “We’ve got more to go.”