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Knight Commits to Carthage College

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Lauren Knight (Providence Catholic HS, 2020) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Tim Bernero and the Carthage Lady Reds. 

Lauren has had a stellar high school career at Providence Catholic, being recognized with all-conference selections her junior and senior seasons (co-conf POY), to go with an MVP selection at the Beecher Classic and an all-tourney nod at the Lincoln-way East Medieval Classic.  And she eclipsed the 1000 points career scoring mark just recently.

“When you describe the quintessential combo guard, you are describing Lauren Knight,” commented Rockets 17 Red Coach, Drew Ondik.  “She can handle the ball like a point guard.  She is a tremendous perimeter shooter.  And she possesses the speed and quickness to put it on the floor and attack the rim.  Lauren puts the work in as well, and she is a great teammate with a big heart.”

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Lauren and her Dad, Matt, on her commitment to Carthage College!

  

Kwilosz Commits to North Central College

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Nicole (Nikki) Kwilosz (Naperville North HS, 2020) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Maggie McCloskey-Bax and the North Central College Cardinals.

Nikki has played in the Rockets program for five years.  She has had a stellar career at Naperville North High School, having been their starting point guard for most of her four-year varsity career.

“Nikki exemplifies grit, determination and leadership,” stated Rockets 17 Red Coach Drew Ondik.  “The very first things you notice about her are her enthusiasm, vocal leadership and the love she shows her teammates.  She is a coach on the floor, as her knowledge of the game is high end.  Nikki is selfless as a player – never concerned about her own points or stats – and always wanting to get all her teammates involved – she is the definition of a top-flight point guard,” added Coach Ondik.

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Nikki and her parents, Dina and Tony, on her commitment to North Central College.

    

 

Nawara Commits to Colorado College

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Emma Nawara (St. Charles North HS, 2020) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Katherine Menendez and the Colorado College Tigers.

Emma, a 5’10” forward, has been in the Rockets program for four years, having joined for her 8th grade season initially.

“Emma has been one of the most tireless workers I’ve ever coached,” commented Rockets 17 Red Coach Drew Ondik.  “The effort she has put in to making herself the player she is today has been incredibly admirable.  Her game is marked by a non-stop motor and an innate ability to find the ball as it comes off the rim.  And her steadfast participation in Coach Rufus’ skills sessions helped her offensive game improve each and every year she’s been in our Rockets program.”

Lastly, commented Coach Ondik, “Emma is a tremendous teammate and is wickedly smart.  She has always been extremely coachable and continues to want to get better!”

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Emma and her parents, Beth and Dave, on her commitment to Colorado College!

  

Ketterman Commits to Purdue Fort Wayne

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Zoe Ketterman (Rosary HS, 2020) has committed to play her college basketball for Coach Niecee Nelson and the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastadons.

Zoe participated in the Rockets program for four summers.

“Zoe combines size and strength with the versatility of a small forward,” said Drew Ondik – Head Coach of the Illinois Rockets 17 Red team.  “She battled opponents taller than her all summer and she matched their toughness at every turn.  And Zoe’s perimeter shooting gave those opponents major fits.  Her teammates adored Zoe and Coach Brandon Stanciel (pictured above) and I appreciated the effort Zoe brought to every practice and game.”

The Rockets program congratulates Zoe and her parents, Samantha and Travis, and we wish her much success in her senior year at Rosary and in her college career at Purdue Fort Wayne.

 

 

Hill Commits to Bowling Green State University

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Olivia Hill (Fremd HS, 2020) has elected to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Robyn Fralick and the Bowling Green State University Falcons.                                 

Olivia, a 6’0” stretch four, has been in the Rockets program for 2 years, competing at the 17 Red level each season.

“Olivia’s high motor and versatility are what caught the eyes of the dozens of colleges who recruited her,” according to Rockets 17 Red Head Coach Drew Ondik.  “She is a superb defender, an active and tenacious rebounder and a triple threat offensive player – she has a great interior post play game, can dribble penetrate from the perimeter, and can hit the 3 from the arc.”

“As great of a player as Olivia is, she is an even better person,” added Coach Ondik.  “She possesses high end leadership qualities which help raise her teammates up.  She was an absolute joy to coach for two summers.”

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Olivia and her parents, Lezlie and Tim, on her commitment to Bowling Green State University.

 

Smith Commits to Depauw University

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Jaida Smith (Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep, 2019) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Kris Huffman and the DePauw University Tigers.

Jaida, a 5’5” point guard, has been in the Rockets program for 2 years, competing at the 17 Red level each season.

“To say that Jaida has incredible speed is an understatement,” according to Rockets 17 Red Head Coach Drew Ondik.  “Her on-ball defense is best-in-class and her ability to push the ball in transition, regularly enabled our Rockets squad to score easy baskets.”

“Jaida is fearless and very tough, having played through some significant injuries and discomfort at times,” added Coach Ondik.  “She is a glue kid – her teammates feed off that toughness and off of her warm, inclusive personality.”

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Jaida and her parents, Donna and Fabian, on her commitment to DePauw University.

 

Baumgartner Commits to UW Whitewater

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Abi Baumgartner (Lincoln-Way Central, 2019) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Keri Carollo and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks.

A three-year starter at Lincoln-Way Central HS, Abi garnered all-conference honors each season.  She also received IBCA all-state honorable mention recognition.

“Abi’s versatility and durability enabled her to lead our Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad in minutes played, rebounds and free throws made and attempted,” commented Drew Ondik, Rockets 17 Red head coach.  “She also finished second in points, assists and steals.  Abi’s impact went well beyond her statistical contributions, however, as she was a great teammate and an absolute joy to coach.”

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Abi and her parents, Jamie and Pat, on her commitment to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

 

Jones Commits to Carthage College

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Nya Jones (Glenbard South HS, 2019) has committed to play collegiate basketball for Coach Tim Bernero and the Carthage College Lady Reds.

Nya, a 5’8” combo guard, has been in the Rockets program for 3 years.

“A deadly sniper from beyond the arc and a solid on and off the ball defender, Nya has everything a coach wants on the court,” commented Nate Gehrt, Nya’s Rockets 17 coach. “In a situation when we needed a bucket, I knew I could lean on Nya to knock down a shot off a quick hitter. And Nya is extremely deadly on the drive and kick, where she’ll always make the right decision. But perhaps what I appreciate most about Nya is her dedication to her teammates and her coachable attitude. Nya taught a very young group of ladies how to comport themselves on and off the court. She was a true “big sister” figure. It is rare to coach an athlete who is as kind as Nya is while maintaining a fierceness on the court.”

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Nya and her Mom, Maigan, on her commitment to Carthage College.

 

Emily Koziol Commits to Loras College

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Emily Koziol (Hinsdale South HS, 2019) has committed to play her college basketball for Coach Justin Heinzen and the Loras College Duhawks.

Emily has participated in the Rockets program for three years and has been a three-year starter for her Hinsdale South Hornets high school squad.  Some of her high school accomplishments include:
• All Conference 2016/2017 and 2017/2018
• 3x All Tournament Team
• Athlete of the Week (HSHS 15/16, 16/17 and 17/18)
• MVP for HS team
• USJN Pool All Star Team (Midwest Spring Showcase 2016, Blue Star Nationals Invite Only 2017, Summer Final-Midwest 2017)
“Emily is the quintessential gym rat whose work ethic and passion for the game enabled her to become one of the finest shooters to ever play for me,” commented Drew Ondik, head coach of the 17U Red Rockets.  “She is a versatile combo guard with a very high basketball IQ.  Emily is a superb, caring teammate and was an absolute joy to coach.”
The Rockets congratulate Emily and her parents, Mary and Mark, on her commitment to Loras College!

 

Celia Satter Commits to The University of Richmond

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Celia Satter (Loyola Academy, 2019) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Michael Shafer and the University of Richmond Spiders.

Celia, a deadly 6’0” shooting wing, led the Rockets in scoring during the recent spring/summer season, while finishing second in rebounds, steals and blocked shots per game.  She was the quintessential “stat sheet stuffer.”

“Celia’s statistical performances speak for themselves, both at Loyola Academy and with the Illinois Rockets,” commented Rockets Coach Drew Ondik.  “But to know Celia is to experience a kid who is a team leader, a superb teammate, a highly coachable player, an extremely high academic achiever and someone who possesses an incredible work ethic.  She is also clutch – hitting many big shots to win games or to send games into overtime.”

Celia has had a decorated high school career (with her senior year still to come), achieving IBCA All-State, All Conference (GCAC), Chicago Tribune All Area, 22nd Century Media All Star Team, JWC Media All Star Team, Thanksgiving Tournament All Star team, Leading Scorer - Loyola Academy 2017-18, 3 Point Contest Sectional Finalist, 2017 USAB U16 Team Trials Participant and a Sectional Championship.

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Celia and her parents, Ann and John, on her commitment to the University of Richmond.

  

Rockets 17 Red Competes Well at Windy City

The Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad went 3-1 in pool play at the USJN Windy City Classic on April 20-22 in Waukegan and Pleasant Prairie (WI).

The Rockets ladies dispatched of the West Michigan Drive 17s, the Minnesota Stars 17s and the Heart of Illinois 17s, while losing to the pool winner, the Wisconsin Elite, who also went 3-1 but won the tiebreaker based on the head-to-head triumph over our Rockets kids.

By finishing 2nd in their pool, the Rockets faced the 2nd place winner from their adjacent pool for their 5th game – the Wisconsin Impact.  In a very well-played and hotly contested affair, the Rockets missed an open look at a 3 point shot at the buzzer to lose, 55-52.

Rockets players are Kiah Rufus, Celia Satter, Jaida Smith, Nikki Kwilosz, Olivia Hill, Abi Baumgartner, Emily Rohman, Zoe Ketterman, Maddie McCarthy and Emily Koziol.  The Rockets are coached by Drew Ondik, Nicolette Rini and Antwainette Walker.

Ally Daca - Commits to Lindenwood University – Belleville

Ally Daca (Glenbard South High School, 2018) has verbally committed to continue her academic and basketball career at Lindenwood University - Belleville, Illinois.

Ally has been a player for the Illinois Rockets for four years and she played an integral part in the success of our 17 White team this spring/summer.  Ally’s size, versatility, along with her ability to stretch the floor and make the three-point shot as a 6’1 forward immediately caught the attention of Head Coach Jeff Reis as a player that would fit their system and allow her to thrive and add to their team’s success.   

 After Ally’s visit to the university this fall, she immediately fell in love with their college atmosphere, coaches, and players and decided this was a place she could call home for the next four years.

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Ally on this well-deserved achievement, and wish her much success in her senior year of high school and her collegiate career! We look forward to cheering you on as a fellow Lynx!

 

Lauren Daffenberg Signs Her NLI to Play For Hillsdale College

At a signing ceremony at Yorkville High School on November 9th, Lauren Daffenberg (Yorkville HS, 2018) signed her National Letter of Intent to play her college basketball for Coach Matt Fritsche and the Hillsdale College Chargers.

Lauren attracted interest from multiple Division I and Division II colleges over the last two summers playing for the Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad.  In the end, the high academics, the relatively close geographical location and the relationship she developed with the players and coaches, led her to sign with Hillsdale.

The Rockets program was fortunate to have Lauren and her family participate for four years.  We congratulate Lauren on signing with Hillsdale, and we wish her much success in her senior year of high school ball and in her collegiate career. 

 

  

Caylin Rufus Signs with Upper Iowa on NLI Day

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Caylin Rufus (York High School, 2018) has committed to play her college basketball for Coach Micha Thompson and the Upper Iowa University Peacocks.

Caylin Rufus (York Community High School, 2018) signed her letter of intent to play college basketball at Upper Iowa University at a signing ceremony on November 8th at York High School.

A five year participant in the Illinois Rockets spring/summer program, Caylin had an exceptional summer playing for 17 Red.  She caught the attention of Head Coach Micha Thompson during the college exposure viewing period, and after her visit to Upper Iowa in mid-July, Caylin committed to play for the Peacocks.

The Illinois Rockets congratulate Caylin on this well-deserved achievement, and wish her much success in her senior year of high school and her collegiate career! 

 

Rockets 17U Red USNJ Mid-America Challenge Title

Traveling to Indianapolis, IN on 5/20-21 to compete in the USJN Mid-America Challenge, the Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad came away with the overall tourney title.

The event got off to a tough start for the Rockets as they dropped their opening pool play game to the Illinois Evolution.  But, unfazed, the Rockets played sensationally in their next two Saturday games, blowing out IL Lady Meanstreets and the Indiana Flight by 25+ points each.

Sunday saw the Rockets match up against a very game Kansas Precision squad, but the Rockets again prevailed, 43 – 36.

That triumph enabled the Rockets to come out on top of Pool B, and gave them the opportunity to play the Pool A winner – the Illinois Defenders – for the Mid-America Challenge championship.

Playing on tired legs but with loads of determination and grit, the Rockets jumped out to a 20-7 first quarter lead.  But the Defenders wouldn’t go away, and they tied the game at 42 late in the third quarter.  Lockdown defense from that point on contributed to the convincing 68 – 56 victory and the tourney title!

Rockets players are Clara Prasse, Kate Moore, Jaida Smith, Lauren Daffenberg, Caylin Rufus, Mya Shannon, Antwainette Walker, Ashley Konkle, Lindsay Harrison and Sadie Jurkovic.  Coaches are Drew Ondik and Mike Prasse.

Rockets 17 Red Run the Table at Hoops in the Heartland

Tenacious man-to-man defense and some hot shooting in games three and four enabled the Illinois Rockets 17 Red girls basketball squad to go 4-0 at the USJN Hoops in the Heartland event in Westfield, IN on April 22-23.

Saturday’s opponents were the Indiana Flight 17 Shock and the Ohio - Dayton Metro 17s, and the Rockets posted 24 and 19 point victories, respectively.

On Sunday, the Rockets claimed the Pool title by besting the Wisconsin 1 on I Milwaukee 17 by the high-flying score of 74-65.  In the crossover game against the adjacent pool winner, the Rockets played their most complete game of the young spring season, triumphing in a convincing fashion over the undefeated Missouri – St. Louis Hype 17s by the score of 51 – 27.  Only a running clock beginning late in the third quarter slowed down the Rockets’ potent, high-powered offense.

Rockets players are Clara Prasse, Kate Moore, Jaida Smith, Lauren Daffenberg, Caylin Rufus, Mya Shannon, Antwainette Walker, Ashley Konkle, Lindsay Harrison and Sadie Jurkovic.  Coaches are Drew Ondik and Mike Prasse.

Rockets 17 Red Open 2017 Summer Season in Strong Fashion

Playing in the USJN Midwest Qualifier at the Hinkston Fieldhouse in Waukegan on April 8-9, the Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad kicked off the 2017 spring/summer season with an excellent showing.

Playing in Pool A, the Rockets faced the eventual pool winner – the Wisconsin Academy – and put on a defensive clinic while triumphing by the score of 45 – 38.

In games 2 and 3, the Rockets led for large stretches before losing by 3 points to the Illinois Elite and the Illinois Defenders.  In both games, last minute 3s just missed sending the contests into overtime.

In the final affair on Sunday morning, all phases of the Rockets’ arsenal were on full display as they raced to a 68-38 victory over the Ohio Diamond on the Hill squad.

Rockets players are Clara Prasse, Kate Moore, Jaida Smith, Lauren Daffenberg, Lauren Stack, Caylin Rufus, Mya Shannon, Antwainette Walker, Ashley Konkle, Lindsay Harrison and Sadie Jurkovic.  Coaches are Drew Ondik, Mike Prasse and Dave Stack.

Benet Academy Repeat

Rockets Players (left to right) Emma Lyne, Megan Will, Kendal Schramek, Clara Prasse,
Lauren Stack, and Katie Jaseckas celebrate their Super Sectional Win! 

Benet Academy’s girls basketball team achieved the rare feat of winning back-to-back IHSA 4A state championships on March 5th at ISU’s Redbird Arena in Normal, IL.

Nine of the top ten players in Benet’s player rotation have ties to the Rockets organization, while current Rockets players are:
Katie Jaseckas (3 years grade school and 4 years high school)
Kendal Schramek (4 years grade school and 4 years high school)
Emma Lyne (3 years grade school and 4 years high school)
Clara Prasse (4 years grade school and 2 years high school)
Lauren Stack (3 years grade school and 2 years high school)

The Rockets organization is proud of our players who have achieved a state title – not once, but twice!  Congratulations, ladies!

Illinois Rockets 17 Red Competes at the USJN’s Blue Star Nationals

Playing in this “invite only” national event for the first time, the Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad showed exceptionally well against teams from five different states.

First up was Blue Star Florida and as has been their want, the Rockets dropped a close one by the score of 61 – 57.

West Michigan Drive 17 was the next opponent, and the Rockets played well throughout, earning a very nice team win, 51 – 35.

The third opponent in Pool Play was the Kansas Eclipse, and the Eclipse raced out to a 23 – 9 first quarter lead.  From that point on, the Rockets ladies played very well, but still came up on the short side of the 72 – 55 score.

Earning second place in the pool due to the point differential tie-breaks, the Rockets advanced to the top bracket play – known as the RED bracket.  Facing the top seed in the event – the Arizona Select – the Rockets again fell behind early and trailed by 12 after the first quarter, 20 – 8.  As they did against the Kansas Eclipse, the Rockets settled in and played the kids from Arizona well in the final three stanzas, but came up short, 71 – 55.

Playing a consolation bracket game to end the event, the Rockets triumphed over a very talented team from the state of Washington – the Northwest Magic – 53 – 49.

Rockets players are Clara Prasse, Kate Moore, Jaida Smith, Lauren Daffenberg, Caylin Rufus, Mya Shannon, Antwainette Walker, Ashley Konkle (injured – but cheered us on from the bench), Lindsay Harrison and Sadie Jurkovic.  Coaches are Drew Ondik and Mike Prasse.

Rockets 17 Red Wins Pool at Run 4 The Roses in Louisville

 

For the first time, the Illinois Rockets traveled to Louisville for the Run 4 The Roses college exposure event, held at the Kentucky Exposition Center on July 5th through 8th.

Playing in the 17U “Conviction” division, the Rockets had their customary slow start and lost their first game in pool play, 54 – 49, to Nashville’s Team Brandon.

But then, as has been the Rockets’ way this spring/summer, they blew through three straight opponents – Hoosier Premier, the Minnesota Heat and BWSL (Boo Williams Summer League) to claim the pool title.

Playing in the Platinum bracket, the Rockets then battled the Kentucky Premier 17’s and triumphed in a defensive struggle, 42 – 38.

In the semi-finals, the Rockets faced a terrific opponent in the Missouri Phenom 17’s.  In a high-flying affair, the Rockets came up just short, losing by three, 60 – 57, as a last second three point attempt fell just short.

The Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad is composed of Clara Prasse, Kate Moore, Jaida Smith, Lauren Daffenberg, Caylin Rufus, Maya Shannon, Antwainette Walker, Ashley Konkle (injured), Lindsay Harrison and Sadie Jurkovic.  Coaches are Drew Ondik and Mike Prasse.

Antwainette Walker Signs with the University of Arkansas Little Rock

Antwainette Walker (St. Francis High School, 2018) signed her National Letter of Intent on November 10th to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Joe Foley and the University of Arkansas Little Rock Little Trojans.

Having played for the Illinois Rockets since 5th grade, Antwainette received over 20 offers to play Division I basketball over the last two summers before finally choosing UALR.

Assistant Coach Steve Wiedower of UARL says of Antwainette, “her speed, athleticism and intelligence fit our style of play, as we like to pressure the ball all 94 feet and get out and run in transition after steals and rebounds.  Antwainette is a difference maker and we’re thrilled to get her.”

The Illinois Rockets program congratulates Antwainette on her special achievement, and we wish her the very best in her senior year of high school ball and her collegiate career at Arkansas Little Rock.

  

Loconte Commits to Quincy University

The Illinois Rockets are proud to announce that Regan LoConte (Lincoln-Way Central, 2020) has committed to play her collegiate basketball for Coach Jeni Garber and the Quincy University Hawks.

“Regan is first and foremost a great perimeter shooter,” commented Drew Ondik, Head Coach of the Illinois Rockets 17 Red squad. “But she has developed the ability to penetrate and get to the rim using either hand, utilizing her length (at 5’10”) to finish and/or get fouled. Additionally, Regan’s joy for the game, infectious personality and caring way makes her a sensational teammate and friend.”


The Illinois Rockets congratulate Regan and her parents, Colleen and Don, on her commitment to Quincy.

   

Spring/Summer 2020 High School Tryout

Register for these tryouts at: https://bit.ly/IllinoisRockets2020SpringTryouts

Questions?

For contact information and questions, see below:

Rockets Girls Twitter

Contact us

If you have any additional questions please click name to email contact:

Boys Program: Marty Kuta

Girls GS Program: Bob Bray

Girls HS Program: Cass Rufus

Financial Questions: Mike Jopes

Website/Registrations Questions:  Bob Bray

Sponsorship:  Mike Bumpus

 

Additional Information

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Rockets Girls HS Team Spring/Summer  

Please Contact Drew Ondik or Ted Grade

Rockets Boys High School Team 

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