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Rapid River Rockets race past Superior Central Cougars, 70-30, in Division 4 boys basketball district

Superior Central's Kyle Frusti, right, drives past Rapid River's Tony DeMars on Wednesday during their MHSAA Divison 4 district tournament opener played at Rapid River. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

RAPID RIVER — It was status quo in an MHSAA Division 4 district boys basketball opener here Wednesday night as Rapid River coasted past Superior Central 70-30.

The Rockets (14-7) host Hannahville (16-5) in the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday. The Cougars finished 4-16.

Hannahville advanced with a 72-55 triumph over Mid Peninsula Wednesday for its first district win since 2004.

In Rapid River, the hosts grabbed a 13-2 lead on a 20-foot jump shot from the right wing by senior guard Braydon Moss.

The Cougars trimmed their deficit to 13-5 on a 25-foot jumper by junior guard Mikey Rondeau.

Superior Central’s Mikey Rondeau, right, shoots over Rapid River’s Vincent Micheau on Wednesday during their MHSAA Divison 4 district tournament opener played at Rapid River. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

Rapid River then outscored the Cougars 24-2 in the second stanza, gaining a 37-7 halftime advantage on a five-foot jumper by junior Griffin Flath at the buzzer.

“I’d say it was a pretty complete game,” RR coach Mitch Hall said. “Although I think we could have moved the ball a little quicker. They didn’t give us many open layups.”

The Cougars trimmed their deficit to 39-18 on a putback by junior forward Michael Leppanen.

Rapid River, however, didn’t allow them to get any closer.

“A lot of it was nerves,” Cougars coach Harry Robbins said. “We have two seniors on the team. We also brought up a lot of young JVs to get them into the district tournament and in front of a bigger crowd than they’re used to. This was a learning experience for them.

“Rapid River has a very, very good team. They’re senior-oriented and can go eight or nine players deep.”

Rockets senior center Tony DeMars collected 14 points and 10 rebounds. Moss also scored 14 and Flath had 10. Junior guard Parker Maki led the Cougars with 13 points.

“We got the ball inside to Tony, and I think that was the difference tonight,” Hall said. “We passed the ball real well and our defense was decent.”

The Rockets hit 27 of 60 field goals and committed 12 turnovers. The Cougars were 12 of 51 from the field and had 19 miscues.

“Attitude, work ethic and sportsmanship are the three things I emphasized at the beginning of the year,” Robbins said. “The kids made a lot of progress during the season. They played hard and didn’t give up.

“We have an opportunity to make even more progress next season. Much depends on what the guys want to do during the offseason.”

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