Andy Harris
Ohio.com correspondent


KENT: The final chapter in the story of Kent Roosevelt's 2012-13 season doesn't begin to accurately paint a picture of how well the Rough Riders played over the second half of the year.



The 58-33 loss to Walsh Jesuit (16-7) in the Division I sectional game Thursday brought the year to a close, but the Rough Riders ended their year with 14 wins and that number may have seemed like a stretch just two months ago.



After nine games and just shy of the halfway mark for the year, Roosevelt was struggling along at 5-4 and trying to get back on track after senior forward Courtney Olesh missed the first four games of the year due to a suspension for a violation of team rules. Roosevelt went 2-2 with her out, but the effects of missing their best player were clearly felt beyond the opening quartet of contests.



In Oleshs absence, promising sophomore Brianna Rock stepped up to lead the team in scoring, but the road was rough and coach Craig Foreman's team had difficulty finding its equilibrium even with Olesh back in the lineup.



That began to change as the Rough Riders began their second round of Portage Trail Conference play and started a stretch that saw them close the year winning nine of 13 to finish the regular season 14-8 and 9-5 in PTC play, good for a third-place tie with Field in the league's Metro Division.



"Our late season surge came definitely from the team really finding chemistry both on and off the court at a key time," Foreman said. "We are a young team that finally got its feet wet and started to click. This bodes well for the future."



Olesh played well upon her return, averaging 9.4 points and 8.6 rebounds, but Foreman cited her impact on the team's chemistry as an even bigger contribution.



"She came back and her court presence really helped facilitate the on-court chemistry that came about," Foreman added.



Unfortunately for the Rough Riders, Olesh was in Las Vegas accepting a DECA award (an organization for students involved in marketing, finance and hospitality studies at the high school and college levels) the night of the Walsh game and her team had to finish its season without her, closing with a record of 14-9.



"Fourteen wins ties last year's mark, which is one if the best at RHS in a long time, and you could argue this was a "rebuilding" season with three big scorers having graduated, Foreman said.



In her absence, Rock stepped up as she had early in the season and tried to will her team back into the game after the Warriors raced out to an early 18-1 lead.



"Brianna always plays hard, and gets her points sometimes the hard way by going to the line. Walsh made it tough on her tonight to get anything going from the floor," Foreman said. "She definitely has a bright future and I'm excited to see and help her improve some aspects of her game so she can take it to even higher levels."



The veteran coach attributed the slow start to Walsh's tough defense and efficient offense, calling the effort "a clinic on great shooting technique."



After the slow start, the Rough Riders were outscored just 40-32 the rest of the way.



"Like all year, they fought to the end," Foreman concluded. ...I told the girls that but also that they have to work on their skills this offseason, and really get to the point that they can shoot like Walsh did. It was a challenge I think many of these girls will take on, and the future looks bright if that is the case."