RPS teams go 11-5 in 205 Tip-Off Classic

ROCKFORD – Boys basketball has been the strongest sport for Rockford School District athletics for the past 10 years.

Auburn, East, Guilford and Jefferson have combined to win at least 50 percent of their conference games every year since the 2008-2009 season. Jefferson, Auburn and East have all won conference titles in that span and the four have combined to win more than 62 percent the past two seasons.

Heading into the 205 Tip-Off Classic there was a little bit of uncertainty. East graduated two 1,000-point scorers off last year’s undefeated conference champion and the conference scoring champion, Sincere Parker, transferred to a school in Arizona. That left Josh Ausler of Auburn as perhaps the conference’s best returning player but Ausler wasn’t eligible for the Tip-Off Classic and his status going forward is unclear.

This past week, though, showed that District 205 teams are poised again to battle it out at the top of the conference. 

Jefferson went 4-0 for the week with a rotation that goes 10 deep. Last year’s leading scorer Latrell Graham was the third leading scorer this past week.

Guilford, which last year had its first winning season since the 2006-2007 season, went 3-1 despite playing three of the four games without Jack Holmstrom. Tyler Knuth picked up the slack with 61 points in four games.

Guilford’s only loss was against Chicago power Bogan High School. The Bengals went 5-0 and the only real scare they got was given to them by East. The E-Rabs rallied from a 16-point deficit to trailing by just two with 8.2 seconds left. East missed a couple of chances to tie and lost by four. Still, the 2-2 week showed the cupboard isn’t bare.

And Auburn showed it’ll be tough with or without Ausler. The Knights struggled to score against Indianapolis Pike and Bogan – those schools went 8-0 for the weekend – but dominated North Chicago and Elgin Larkin. Senior guard Haniefe Johnson thrived with a larger role, averaging 14.5 points over the week.

Conference play begins Wednesday with Jefferson playing at East, Guilford hosting Belvidere North and Auburn hosting Hononegah.

Posted on 12.01.19