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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Things started off quite nicely.
And then they hit a wall.
Now, things are going smoothly again.
It has been a roller-coaster ride for the Rockets this season.
At the moment, everything seems to be in order again.
The Streetsboro boys basketball team won its third straight game after posting a 53-40 victory over Springfield Jan. 18 in Akron.
With the win, the Rockets, who have won four of their last five games, improved to 7-6 overall and 6-2 in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division.
It has been feast or famine for Streetsboro thus far.
The Rockets opened the season with three straight wins before going on a five-game losing streak. While things have certainly turned around for Streetsboro, Rockets head coach Nick Marcini never got too concerned about his team.
"We've started playing a lot better," he said. "Sure, we lost five in a row, but when you take a step back, you have to consider who we were playing.
"We dropped a couple in the league, but we lost to a very good Youngstown East team and then we lost to Kenston and Hudson, which are a lot bigger schools."
Streetsboro outscored the Spartans 30-19 in the middle two quarters to take control.
Despite scoring a team-high 17 points, Jordan Matusik didn't have too much room to operate, thanks to Springfield's defense.
Fortunately, that opened the door for one of Matusik's teammates.
Brandon Gency had one of his best all-around games of the season with 16 points, six steals and four assists. Gency also had to guard the Spartans' 6-foot-9 post player, Victor Dorsey, in the second half.
Although Dorsey had 18 points, he wasn't much of a factor in the final 16 minutes.
"We went to box and one on Jordan," Marcini said. "Brandon really stepped up. He had four or five steals in the second half. Dorian Williams guarded Dorsey in the first half and Brandon guarded him in the second half."
The Rockets' offense turned it up a notch in the third quarter. And they had a knack for getting three points on several possessions.
"There was a stretch in the third quarter when we had three straight and ones," Marcini said. "Jordan got one and then [Devin] Rencher got one and Brandon got a steal and got it to Jordan for one."
Streetsboro also made its free throws. The Rockets converted 14-of-19 shots from the foul line.
Jacob Kitchen also had 18 points for Springfield. Kitchen knocked down four three-pointers.
The Rockets posted a 48-39 victory in the junior varsity contest. Jerry Judd and Avery VanReeth each had 16 points for Streetsboro.
The Rockets are scheduled to entertain Metro Division rival Ravenna Jan. 25 before heading to Kent Roosevelt for a Metro Division showdown Jan. 29. Both varsity contests are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
The contest with Ravenna will feature a triple-header. The freshman contest is scheduled to start at 4:15 with the JV game following at 6.
"Everybody is playing better," Marcini said. "Ravenna is so athletic and they play 10 to 15 guys. Their pressure is dangerous."
Thanks to their three-game winning streak, Streetsboro is back in the race.
Norton, which lost to the Rockets earlier in the season, was one game ahead of Streetsboro with a 7-1 record in the Metro Division at press time.
"By beating Norton, we put ourselves back in it," Marcini said. "We control our own destiny. Two losses can do it. A third loss makes it tough. We have to win out. Each game we play is the biggest game of our lives."