Coming into the season, Rogers High coach Rico Ancheta admitted that his boys basketball team was missing something from a year ago: an identity.
“We’re going to have to see what we have first,” Ancheta said back in November.
After a slow start to the season that’s led Rogers to a 3-9 overall record coming out of the break, the Rams still have a chance to turn it around. But first they need to establish that identity.
“I think we’re better than what our record says we are,” senior Daniel O’Brien said. “We’ve made some mistakes, but I think we’ve learned from that and we’re starting to make a turnaround.”
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After losing a road game to Todd Beamer, 55-47, on Saturday afternoon, Rogers has fallen six games under .500 on the season. The loss against the Titans was reminiscent of the Rams season to date.
“This game went much like most of our games this season,” Ancheta said. “We get a chance, but we can’t capitalize (enough) on it to get the win.”
With Beamer leading the Rams in the fourth quarter, Rogers began to climb back into the game behind Braden Hannold and O’Brien.
As Hannold poured it on with outside shots, O’Brien pulled down everything he could on the offensive end. The result of the two’s offensive outpouring pulled Rogers within one, 43-42, with only minutes left to play.
“I felt we had a chance to get the win, but we didn’t make enough shots as a team and they made theirs,” Hannold said.
Missed shots on the offensive end and fouls on defense by the Rams allowed Beamer to pull away in the game’s final four minutes, an issue that’s plagued Rogers so far this season.
“You’re not afforded a whole lot of chances when you’re down. They’re a good team and we knew it was going to be tough the whole game coming in,” Ancheta said.
But the comeback and effort was telling to Ancheta and company.
“We didn’t have an identity of who we are coming into the season,” Ancheta admitted. “But I think this break was good for them to evaluate where we are and who we want to be … I think we beginning to understand our identity.”
That will be a focal point for Rogers going forward as the team is currently on the outside looking in. But there’s time for the Rams to move up on their current fifth-place standing (1-3) in the SPSL South.
Every team ahead of Rogers — second-ranked Curtis (11-0, 4-0), Emerald Ridge (6-4, 4-0), Puyallup (9-2, 3-1) and Spanaway Lake (7-5, 2-3) — are within reach for the Rams to make a playoff run.
But first things first for Rogers: Find that identity.
“We’re starting to see what we can do as a team, and we’re playing more together,” O’Brien said. “I think that will help us in the second half.”