When asked to move from the middle school ranks to take over the head honcho role for the high school team, new Rose Hill head coach Steve Siemens said he decided to “try something new.”
A part of the district for 21 years, Siemens is not an unfamiliar face to his athletes. But on the court, the Rockets will also get to try something new.
“Offensively, we're going to try to push the ball up the floor. We won't hold it very long,” Siemens said. “We won't be methodical in the fact that I think the kids have bought in so far. They like the idea of being able to get shots up.”
A little run 'n gun has the Rose Hill roster fired up. That excitement is crucial for a squad coming off an 8-14 season with few known quantities in the fold.
T.J. Slade and Wyatt Clark are scrappy, high character players being called on for the tough task of being quality leaders for the Rockets' inexperienced squad – despite still being fairly green themselves.
If the free flowing offense bogs down, junior Bret Waddell will become the focal point. A 6-foot-4-inch post player, Waddell also must be ferocious on the boards.
Helping Bret is his brother Austin, a freshman in line for major minutes because of a similar style to Bret. Gabe Nickel and Logan Welch will also see big minutes tossed their way, but do not expect a tight rotation.
“We could play anywhere from eight to 10 kids, and fully plan on it,” Siemens said.
On defense, Rose Hill will start in man-to-man. As the situations dictate, the Rockets may switch gears to touch on several zones. Siemens said teams like McPherson and Mulvane will command that Rose Hill be fundamentally sound to slow them down.
The Rockets will try to build off last season's momentum. Rose Hill started the year 1-6, but a 7-8 mark the rest of the way showed that the team is competitive. The Rockets beat Clearwater in the first round of the 4A postseason before falling to Wellington 60-52 in the next contest.
Rose Hill will be young, and Siemens recognizes that. The entire year will be a transition for both players and coaching staff, as both get acclimated to the nuances of the varsity level.
“I'm looking forward to the new challenge,” Siemens said. “It's something different. I'm excited to get the season going to see how we stack up.”
The season begins Dec. 4 with a home date against Garden Plain before the Rockets spend the next four games on the road. Rose Hill spends three of its final four regular season matchups at home, including the finale against Buhler on Feb. 21.