December 1st, 2017

Cronen helps Rockets blow past Pres

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Cronen helps Rockets blow past Pres
Assumption's Maggie Metzger looks to make a play against Presentation's Maddie Ruxer / photo by Conor Revell

Assumption’s basketball program appears to be on the upswing and sophomore Payton Cronen has played a key role so far.

Cronen recorded a team high 14 points, grabbed four rebounds, and had three steals as the visiting Rockets routed Presentation 61-31 Friday night.

“Payton is the kind of player that can be a scorer,” Assumption head coach Amy Siegel said. “You always have players that can finish or play off the dribble. Payton can score. For her, it’s recognizing when to take what kind of shot.

“Payton will not get outworked and is in the gym more than any player I’ve ever coached. She loves it and for her she just has to figure out where she fits in a system and she has done that. We’re going to rely on her and she is going to have keep it going when people start guarding her.”

It was the largest margin of victory in the series for any team since January of 2013 as two of the previous four meetings had been decided by less than 10 points.

It’s the second straight season Assumption has started 2-0 as the program is looking to finish with a winning record for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Cronen scored all of her points in the first quarter as the Rockets led 14-4 after one quarter and 31-14 at the half.

“I feel that it’s my job to control the offense and get everyone where they’re supposed to be,” Cronen said. “I also feel that is my role on defense and that’s to communicate and get everyone where they’re supposed to be.”

Presentation (0-2) would trail by as many as 33 points in the second half.

“We’re going to have to practice a little bit harder,” Pres head coach David Jackson said. “We aren’t practicing the way we need to be. I think they’re starting to learn that. In the first quarter we fell way behind – we missed two free throws and four layups – that really hurt. We made it easy for them and once they got the big lead they got to relax and put more pressure on us.”

It wasn’t just Cronen lighting up the scoreboard for the Rockets as senior Grace Bringard added 10 points and eight rebounds.

“My sophomore year I had a kneecap dislocation at the end of preseason,” Bringard said. “I missed all of my sophomore year to rebuild the kneecap and then I had to spend all of my junior year catching back up. Tonight boosted my confidence in my ability and knowing that my teammates will back me up.”

Bringard had sat out most of the last two seasons.

“She’s the reason why I coach,” Siegel said. “She just revitalizes everybody on my team with her play. And, she has just come back from an injury, but she got a mentality that I love the game, and I appreciate the opportunity to play. That kind of game is the very reason I love coaching because it means so much to the kid.”

Maddie Nalley also chipped in 10 points for Assumption. Sophomore Jacqueline Raque and senior Taylor Allen both added nine points.

“I feel that my main role is to be the best player I can be and to support my teammates,” Raque said. “Even though a lot of us underclassmen have big roles, our upperclassmen push all of us to be better players every day and every game.”

With so many scorers, the Rockets finished the game with 10 assists on 23 made baskets, a sign of a team that enjoys sharing the ball.

“I think I saw very unselfish play out of my team tonight,” Siegel said. “We made the extra pass, we had our head up, and we didn’t care how it got done. We just wanted it to get done. I saw a lot of teamwork and moving the ball well and that started it on the offensive end. Defensively, I think we were just getting after it and I think they understand the importance of guarding.”

It was a rough night for the home team as the Toppers didn’t record a field goal in the first quarter and trailed 22-4 at one point in the second quarter.

Pres is working on replacing scorers Lilly Stephenson, Julia Vogt, and Lauren Nunnelly and that might take some time with an inexperienced team.

Senior Courtney Jackson sat most of the first half with foul trouble, but still finished with a team high nine points.

“I think the game had already slipped away from us when she got into foul trouble,” Jackson said of his daughter. “She’s probably the one that talks the most on defense and she’s one of our leaders. But, we had more trouble than that tonight. We couldn’t handle the basketball and their pressure. Her foul trouble did hurt us a bit though.”  

Maddie Ruxer added eight points and Jaelin Thompson finished with six points. The rest of the team only had a combined eight points.

Pres will go back to the drawing board and is trying to find its identity while Assumption has something to work for.

“Anytime we win, it gives us confidence,” Siegel said. “Over the summer we play such a tough schedule and we don’t win a lot but I’d rather play those opponents so that we can learn from them. These are two good wins against two well coached teams that will help. My hope is that we can compete and getting these two wins will tell them we can compete and play with people.” 


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