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Game Recap: Rockford 63, East Grand Rapids 58
Rockford earned a hard-fought win over East Grand Rapids on Tuesday, outlasting the Rams 63-58 to start its season with a win. The Rams outscored East Grand Rapids 15-10 in the second quarter to take a 30-26 lead into the break. The third quarter was deadlocked, and in the 4th, Jack Lamancusa scored 14 of his team-high 18 points to push Rockford to a win. Rockford is now 1-0 and will now face Lansing Everett at Ottawa Hills on Saturday at 1:30. East Grand Rapids drops to 0-1 and will travel to Hudsonville on Friday.
Rockford’s Physicality Makes The Difference
This game teetered back and forth throughout the entire contest and could have swung in East Grand Rapids’ way if not for some timely rebounds that led to second-chance opportunities for the Rams. Charlie Deutsch, Blake Murphy, Caden Pokorsynski, and Jack Lamancusa did a great job of cleaning up the glass on both ends of the court, fighting for loose balls, and effectively eliminating any Pioneer second chance opportunities while creating some of their own.
Simon Neuhaus’s Game Continues To Evolve
Simon jumped on the radar last season when he led the Pioneers to a District Championship in just his sophomore season. Now that the secret is out, opposing teams will have Simon at the top of their scouting report. This didn’t make much of a difference on Tuesday night as Simon paced the Pioneers with 28 points, leading all scorers. Simon’s mid-range game looks a lot more polished from a season ago, as does his ball handling. He broke down his man a number of times on isolation sets and was able to use his physicality to get to the rim. Other than some early struggles from the free-throw line, Simon looked the part of a lead player on a team that will compete for a conference title and more this season.
Jack Lamancusa’s Huge 4th Quarter
Jack didn’t score in the first half and wasn’t as aggressive as I anticipated he'd be with the ball in his hands. Right out of the gate in the second half, you could tell Rockford was intent on changing that and ran a set for Jack in the first possesion out of the break. In the 4th quarter, as East Grand Rapids fought back to make it a one-possession game, it was Jack who stepped up and hit a flurry of shots to push Rockford over the edge. Additionally, Jack was tasked with guarding Neuhaus, who had to fight for every bucket scored in the final eight minutes.