Boys Basketball: DeKalb defense shuts down Rochelle

Senior Raul Aguirre battles DeKalb's Davon Grant down low during the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball game against the Barbs on Tuesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Barbs cruise over Hubs 70-40 in nonconference play

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team struggled to create much offense against a physical and athletic DeKalb defense during Tuesday’s nonconfernece matchup.

Jackson Kees drilled four first-half triples for the Barbs, who held Rochelle to only three first-quarter field goals and held a 19-8 lead entering the second quarter. DeKalb’s man-to-man defense overwhelmed the Hubs, who fell behind early and couldn’t find any offensive rhythm in a 70-40 loss to the Barbs. Rochelle (9-18, 3-9 Interstate 8) faces Sandwich on the road Friday.

“The way DeKalb guarded us tonight reminded me of the way we used to guard here at Rochelle,” head coach Tim Thompson said. “We would press hard and we would make everything our opponents did difficult. Even when we struggled offensively, we could hang our hats on the defensive end. We haven’t been that team this season, but I’m glad that we played a team like DeKalb because our younger kids see what it takes to play against a team like that.”

Sophomore Carson Lewis swished two consecutive 3-pointers in the first quarter to give the Hubs early life. But the Barbs dominated the second quarter, where 6-foot-4 freshman forward Davon Grant became a matchup nightmare, using his physical frame and off-the-dribble attacks to finish layup after layup at the rim. Grant put home eight field goals between the second and third quarters, finishing with 18 points and helping DeKalb take a 39-19 halftime advantage.

The Barbs continued to penetrate the Rochelle defense in the third quarter, where 6-foot-3 forward Darrell Island converted three layups and guard Cooper Phelps hit the second of his two triples in the game. Despite 3-pointers from junior Jack Lodico and sophomore Elijah Harley, Rochelle trailed 61-32 entering the fourth quarter, where Lodico made two layups in the final minute to finish with a team-high seven points. Harley and Lewis each totaled six points.