ROCHELLE — The Rochelle varsity boys and girls basketball teams hosted Morris this past Saturday, with the Hubs topping the Redskins by a score of 82-68 and the Lady Hubs cruising to a 63-24 victory. Rochelle’s boys improved to 10-12 overall with the win, while the girls team bumped its record up to 6-19 overall.
Seeking to snap their nine-game losing streak, the Lady Hubs started strong on offense behind senior Abby Lundquist, who led the team with 25 points, four rebounds and two steals. Rochelle outscored Morris 29-17 over the first half.
“We wanted to establish ourselves defensively and we wanted to rotate with a purpose,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “We had a lot of deflections and steals on defense that led to easy baskets on the other end. We emphasized moving the ball on offense, and I think Saturday was our best game as a unit offensively. The girls were knocking down open shots.”
Rochelle put the clamps on Morris defensively in the second half, limiting the Redskins to only eight points while holding Morris to just two points in the fourth quarter. The Lady Hubs shot 46 percent from the field, with freshman Zoey Tabor going 4-for-4 and scoring 12 points.
“Zoey was catching the ball in rhythm and she was very decisive on when she wanted to shoot,” Rowan said. “Her confidence was growing early in the game, and she was making her mind up quickly, which made the flow of the game easier for her.”
Senior Emilee Dueringer also finished with a perfect field-goal percentage, shooting 3-for-3 from the field and scoring eight points with two rebounds and two steals. Rochelle led Morris 50-23 after three quarters before finishing the game on a 13-2 run.
“Emilee knocked down a couple of 3-pointers for us, and when she’s able to catch the ball in stride with some space, she can put up a nice shot,” Rowan said. “She had open areas to shoot the ball from and she was able to knock down shots.”
Freshman Sylvia Hasz totaled four points, with three players including senior Makenna Ferrari, sophomore Sofia Lenkaitis and freshman Josie Lundquist adding three points. Junior Gabrielle Harding and senior Cheyene Watson each scored two points, and sophomore Afi Gati chipped in one point and four rebounds.
Rochelle and Morris remained tight with one another throughout the first half, with the Hubs holding a slim 38-37 lead over the Redskins. Both teams worked to influence the pace of the game early on, but by the third quarter, Rochelle began taking control of the tempo, outscoring Morris 22-14 in the quarter to go ahead 60-51.
“They wanted to slow the ball down, but we really wanted to push the pace,” head coach Tim Thompson said. “We really wanted to play an up-tempo game… We continued shooting the ball well across the board in the second half, and I felt that it was one of our better games offensively in terms of our efficiency.”
The Redskins trouble Rochelle senior Johnny Beck in the first half, getting the forward into foul trouble early with four fouls. But Beck finishing strong throughout the second half, committing zero fouls and ending the night with a team-high 22 points. The Hubs spaced the floor effectively, with sophomore Garrett Burdin scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and senior Kaleb Ackland adding 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting with a team-best 11 rebounds.
“A lot of teams start worrying about getting certain players fouled out,” Thompson said. “They were trying to figure out ways to draw fouls on Johnny… He got us going with some early buckets in the second half, and we continued shooting the ball well. We had just enough stops to extend out lead and we made our free throws down the stretch.”
Junior Austin Brown was the catalyst on offense for the Hubs, scoring 10 points while adding a season-best 10 assists, tied for the fourth-most assists in a game for any Rochelle player. The Hubs finished the win off with a 22-17 performance in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been doing a better job of sharing the basketball,” Thompson said. “Austin had some really nice passes… 10 assists are a lot in a high school game. Austin works so hard and he always gives us his best effort.”