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by Frank Aceto | Associate Sports Editor
Streetsboro head boys basketball coach Nick Marcini saw the intense faces and business-like demeanor.
At that point, Marcini just had to the break the ice.
"I just said, 'Hey man, can't you get a little excited?" he said.
Yes, the Rockets still have big plans for the season.
Streetsboro's return to the Portage Trail Conference County Division after a two-year hiatus has been a successful one.
The Rockets claimed the outright division title with an 82-52 thumping of Waterloo Feb. 21 in Atwater. With the win, Streetsboro improved to 15-6 overall and finished 11-1 in the County Division.
The Rockets took a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and were up 45-23 at halftime. Streetsboro continued to pour it on in the third quarter and was up 71-35 heading into the final eight minutes.
"The guys were focused," Marcini said. "This could have been a trap game. They wanted it and they got it.
"They shot the ball as well as they have all year. They shared the ball and it was fun to watch everybody getting involved."
Danny Sapp, who recently made a verbal commitment to continue his academic and basketball careers at California University of Pennsylvania, scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half for the Rockets. He did not play in the fourth quarter.
Reggie Dublin added 15 points and Devin Rencher and Jerry Judd each had 13 points. A total of nine players scored for Streetsboro.
The host Rockets also posted a 62-58 win over Nordonia in overtime Feb. 18.
Sapp canned a bucket with 2 seconds left in regulation to send the contest into overtime.
"We got the ball past halfcourt and called time-out with 23 seconds left," Marcini said. "We had Danny go one on one and he drove between three guys and made a nice hop step before banking it on the left side."
Judd hit a driving layup in the extra period, Rencher converted 4 of 4 charity tosses and Dublin made 2 of 2 at the line to close out the Knights.
Both teams scored 50 points from the field, but the Rockets won the game at the foul line, converting 12 of 20 compared to 8 of 13 for Nordonia.
"They were the hottest team in the Suburban League," Marcini said. "They knocked off [Medina] and [Uniontown] Green. The last two games were far and way our best games of the season."
Dublin led Streetsboro with 19 points and Sapp finished with 13 points. Also reaching double digits in scoring for the Rockets were Judd (12) and Rencher (11).
Sixth-seeded Streetsboro is scheduled to play the Tallmadge-Richfield Revere winner in a Division II sectional title contest March 1 at 7 p.m. If fifth-seeded Tallmadge wins, the game will be at Tallmadge. If Revere wins, the game will be at Streetsboro.
"Tallmadge has a really good big guy in [Andrew] Francesconi," Marcini said. "We played Revere once without Paul [Jenkins] and Danny and they got us [Revere earned a 70-55 win over the Rockets Dec. 28 at Hudson High School]. We feel like we're starting to peak at the right time."
Sapp recently was chosen to play in the Stark-Summit All-Star game, which is scheduled to take place March 19 at Wadsworth High School.
He also was chosen to play in the Greater Akron Basketball Coaches Association all-star game, which is set to take place March 26 at Malone University in North Canton.
Sapp recently earned first-team All-County Division honors. Dublin and Jenkins were named to the second team and Rencher and Judd received honorable mention.