“We took good shots,” Rockhold said. “I can think of two shots that weren’t the ones we want. It just wasn’t our day. We had point-blank layups, we had straight-line drives that we missed. We had a wide-open layup that we missed in the second half where we could’ve cut it to eight.”
For all their shooting woes, McComb started the second half with a basket to cut the deficit to 36-26, but McNicholas didn’t slow down and led 50-30 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Rams create a lot of offense with their full-court pressure, but not scoring kept them from setting it up and ever having a chance to go on a run.
“We can’t set up pressure all the time off of a miss,” Rockhold said. “You’re always in scramble mode. We had possessions where we did a really good job of speeding them up and turn them over, but we couldn’t convert so we couldn’t get back in that same pressure.”
McNicholas (20-4) will play in a regional semifinal Thursday. The Rockets had their second highest scoring game of the season, shot 55.3 % and made 20 of 25 free throws. Carson Seeman led four players in double figures with 15 points.
“They’re a nice team, they really are,” Rockhold said. “They’re a one seed for a reason, and they’re going to be a tough out. This just falls in line with the kind of season it is. You just fight so many battles, and we just got beat today.”
Personnel changes also meant that the Rams gave some young talent a chance to mature. Freshmen Tim Carpenter, Will Yates and Mike Smith combined for a total of about 30 minutes and were on the floor with seniors McComb and Blanton when they had their final chance at a run early in the fourth quarter.
“I’m not even sure we didn’t overachieve a little bit just by being here,” Rockhold said. “So we’ll take it.”
Tipp, CJ advance: Tippecanoe and Chaminade Julienne both advanced to the regional semifinals with district championships Saturday and face each other next.
Tipp defeated Cincinnati Indian Hill 50-47, and CJ defeated Cincinnati Wyoming 56-51. The two teams meet at 8 p.m. Thursday at Butler High School.