It took the Rock Island Rocks a quarter to wake up.
And boy did they ever.
The Rocks scored 32 points in the second quarter to grab a 72-54 win over Sterling Saturday at Rock Island High School. With the Western Big Six adding Saturday games, head coach Henry Hall thinks there's still a bit of an adjustment going on.
"We're all in the same boat, I can't just say it's us, but that Thursday-Saturday turnaround is tough, so we had to wake up a little bit," Hall said. "We were a little asleep that first quarter, then we got back in rhythm and started playing better."
The Rocks trailed 17-10 after the first quarter but upped their defensive play, forcing seven turnovers in the second quarter, and hit five 3s in the frame to grab a 42-27 halftime lead.
That was enough of a cushion the rest of the way as the Golden Warriors never got the deficit below 15 points in the second half.
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"I would say that's been a repeat of our last five games," Sterling head coach Taylor Jackson said. "We hit a spot where we need to keep pushing, and right now we just don't have the depth to do that. Our kids kind of lose focus of what we want to do, what's working and they start to do their own thing. ... We just run out of steam at a certain point in the game and we're working through that."
Hannah Simmer led the charge, scoring 21 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists in just three quarters of play after suffering a mild ankle sprain in the second half. She was also active defensively, coming away with several steals.
A big key to the turnaround in the later quarters was the Rocks taking care of the ball. After nine turnovers in the first quarter, Rock Island had just six the rest of the game.
"We just started focusing. I don't think we were focused that much in the first quarter," Simmer said. "(Hall) said it looked like we just weren't trying out there. So we just had to put in the effort, and once we did that, we just started rolling."
Along with Simmer, the Rocks (9-4, 3-2 Western Big Six) had three other players score in double digits, with Emily Allison's 14 points leading the charge.
"A lot of our kids are versatile," Hall said. "We're just trying to be basketball players. ... (Simmer) sets the tone for us defensively, and we just go from there."
Sterling (2-7, 1-4) was led by juniors Brooklyn and Breelyn Borum, who combined for 29 points, with Brooklyn scoring 17 and grabbing 13 rebounds before fouling out in the third quarter.