MT. WASHINGTON – Despite the 6-5 record following a convincing win against Roger Bacon Jan.7, the McNicholas Rockets are still well thought of by other area coaches.
In the Week 5 Division II-IV girls’ basketball coaches poll, the Rockets were third behind Madeira and Summit Country Day and in front of fourth-place Felicity-Franklin. All three of those teams have better records than McNick.
“I think some people thought more highly of us at the beginning of the season,” Rockets head coach Gregg Flammer said. “People look at our schedule and think it counts for a lot. It’s always helped and it helps us come tournament time.”
The tournament is still 11 games away and Flammer said that, like many teams, there are things they want to improve upon such as not letting games get out of control and better guard play to support Payton Ramey.
“Whichever direction we are going in, we tend to we stay that way,” the coach said. “When things start going against us, we tend to struggle. This second half of the season is about developing consistency and more of a play-with-anybody mentality.”
After losing in double overtime to Milford to open the season, the Rockets won three straight including a win against Loveland. After that, the Rockets dropped three straight.
Since then, they’ve won three of their last four games before heading into a weekend matchup with Summit and starting this week against Conner.
“I knew it was going to be a different year with graduating so many seniors from last year and I knew there were going to be frustrating times,” Ramey said. “I think we’ve gotten a lot better after hitting that rough patch.”
A lot of the leadership duties have fallen to Ramey because she is one of the few varsity carry-overs from last year. She said she has handled that responsibility by trying to be more vocal, exuding leadership from her role as a team captain and by making plays on the court.
Ramey’s stat line speaks to that third goal.
She is the only Rocket who averages double figures in scoring; she hauls in seven rebounds a contest and is tied for fourth on the team in assists per game.
Going forward, Flammer knows every team is going to key on Ramey, thus balance between the inside game and outside is important.
“We are looking to get more out of our guards instead of looking for just Payton,” he said. “If you come to our games, you will hear me getting on our guards to be more aggressive, confident and to shoot the ball more.”
Both he and Ramey said they are confident that a mix of this team’s chemistry and belief in themselves could help them make noise in the playoffs.
“I think that we have the talent,” Ramey said. “It’s a matter of settling down and using it.”