ERIC VICCARO, [email protected]
HIGBEE — Higbee High School guard Derek Rockett registered an impressive milestone on Tuesday evening in the Tigers’ season-opening game versus Bevier.
Rockett scored his 1,000th point on a 19-footer from the top of the key.
Higbee head boys’ basketball coach Tanner Burton immediately called timeout, allowing Rockett a chance to soak in the moment. Burton hugged Rockett, and teammates gathered around giving him high-fives.
It was all part of a dominating performance for Higbee, who dispatched Bevier 91-39. The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 40-6 during the third quarter alone.
“Derek is an elite athlete,” Burton said. “The way he and his teammates work together to be successful is second to none.”
Burton said what sets Rockett apart is his commitment no matter the season. Derek also is one of mid-Missouri’s top pitchers on the baseball diamond.
“The sky is the limit for this young man in athletics and in life,” Burton added. “Scoring 1,000 points is a tremendous milestone, especially to start his junior year.”
What’s more, Rockett could have easily been in the 1,000-point club earlier in his career. His freshman season was cut short due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Burton noted.
Rockett finished with 37 points, which included four 3-pointers and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Jaxon Hudson, Will Spilman and Chad Crawford complemented Rockett, also scoring in double figures. Hudson canned 10 field goals and made one free throw for 21 points. Spilman drained four 3-pointers as part of a 14-point night.
Higbee pulled away late in the first quarter, going on an 18-0 run to take a 23-5 lead. The rest was pretty much just details.
The Tigers’ 2021-22 season was exemplary, winning 26 games. They won both the Northwestern and CLAA conference tournaments. Higbee was second in the Keytesville Tournament, falling to eventual state Class 1 fourth place Wellsville-Middletown.
Rockett was last year’s Carroll-Livingston Activities Association tournament most valuable player and a first-team all-district selection. He averaged 19.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and four steals per contest. He connected on 76-of-217 3-pointers (roughly 35 percent).
Spilman and Hudson are both expected to give Higbee height inside as both stand 6-foot-3. Chevy Grimsley and Chad Crawford also will both be starters this season. Celton Crawford, Danny Janssen and Mason Martin are newcomers who will receive playing time.
Higbee will be a contender to win the CLAA regular-season and tournament championships. Burton said Northwestern (Mendon) and Braymer also are in the mix.
“We have some unfinished business based on how last season ended,” Burton said. “We pushed ourselves this summer playing mainly larger schools. We played a good amount of Class 3, 4 and 5 schools, and were able to compete.”
The Tigers’ intense summer basketball load featured games in Rolla and Springfield, and their own shootout last June.
Ben Hays was added to the coaching staff this season, serving as lead assistant. Hays was one time the head girls’ basketball coach at Sweet Springs, and has coached at other stops across the region.
28-30, at Northwestern Tournament, Mendon
1-3, at Northwestern Tournament, Mendont; 5-10, at Pilot Grove Tiger Classic; 13, at Marion County; 16, NORBORNE; 19, at Hale-Bosworth; 29, Twelve Courts of Christmas, vs. St. Joseph, at Hy-Vee Arena, Kansas City
3, at Tina-Avalon; 5, SOUTHWEST; 6, BRECKENRIDGE; 9, at Prairie Home (with Bunceton); 10, at Keytesville; 13, NORTHWESTERN (MENDON); 17, HARDIN-CENTRAL; 20, at Braymer; 31, at Brunswick
3-4, at Mid-Missouri Invitational, Ramey Basketball, Harrisburg; 16, LA PLATA
no. Name Ht. Year
0 Mason Martin 5-9 Sophie.
1 Chevy Grimsley 5-11 Sr.
4 JD Uumstattd 6-0 Fr.
11 Derek Rockett 6-1 Jr.
12 Micah Kirby 5-8 Jr.
14 Celton Crawford 6-0 Fr.
15 Chad Crawford 6-0 Sr.
21 Jason Hudson 6-3 Jr.
22 Will Spinman 6-3 Jr.
25 Aiden Freedin 5-6 Fr.
32 Landon Tuggle 5-10 Sophie.
33 Danny Jansen 6-0 Fr.
40 Alex Shell 6-0 Sr.