By Brandon Hensley
Halfway through the season, and the Rosemont Middle School basketball teams are where they expected to be: undefeated.
Both the Spartan boys and girls nabbed road victories at Wilson Middle School on Oct. 8 to push each of their records to 3-0. Today at 3:30 p.m., they’ll be at Toll to take on the Titans.
Boys’ coach Brent Ballard was happy with the effort of his team against Wilson, which beat Rosemont twice last year to claim its first ever district championship.
“Defensively we were pretty consistent. We played hard, and once our shots started falling we were good,” Ballard said of the boys’ 49-22 victory. Rosemont was up 18-10 at halftime and, thanks to relentless pressure and better shooting as the game went on, outscored the Knights 31-12 in the final 20 minutes.
Danny Khani led the team in scoring with 15 points. Ballard likes what he’s seeing from him through the first three games.
“Danny’s real athletic. He’s got size. He can shoot from three. He can post up,” Ballard said.
Tyler Carlson chipped in 10 points, to go along with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Those two were the only Spartans to reach double-digit points, but this win was about defense. Since the shooting isn’t as consistent as Ballard would like, he’s relying on guys who give good energy minutes.
Ballard likes the defensive prowess of Chuck Meyer and Nate Nuttal. Combined, the team forced 12 steals from Wilson and collected 28 rebounds. Ballard also praised Carlson for his leadership.
“He has a great temperament. He stays in control. He’s a great passer and defender,” Ballard said.
So what is there to work on? A lot, said Ballard. He said making free throws has been a problem, in addition to outside shooting. He gave his players a mandate to shoot 100 shots and 50 free throws every day outside of school.
“I don’t think they all do that, but you need to,” he said. “That’s really where you get the shooting practice – outside.”
Defensively, he said teams will adjust to Rosemont’s pressure, so they’ll have to be ready now that they’ll face Toll, Roosevelt and Wilson the second time around.
The Spartan girls’ team played a close first half with Wilson, but pulled away in the second for a 37-21 win. Jasmine Phillips scored a game-high 17 points. Denise Dayag had 10 points and six steals. Sophia Salinas also collected six steals, and had a team-high six rebounds.
Statistics courtesy of Craig Carlson