Boys Basketball: Dominant start launches Hubs over LaSalle-Peru

Senior Cooper Hasz scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds during the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team's win over LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Five players reach double figures in 81-57 win

LASALLE — Despite losing three consecutive games to close out the E.C. Nichols Holiday Classic and the 2021 calendar year, the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team rung in the new year with a dominant showing during Tuesday’s Interstate 8 Conference matchup with LaSalle-Peru.

Behind five double-digit scorers including senior Noah Brown, who led the Hubs with 15 points on five 3-pointers made, Rochelle controlled the Cavaliers from the opening tip, outscoring LaSalle-Peru 30-10 in the first quarter and coasting to an 81-57 victory. The Hubs (6-8, 3-1 Interstate 8) shot over 52 percent from the field and finished 12-for-25 from the 3-point line.

“We thought LaSalle-Peru would come out with a lot of energy because they went 1-3 during their holiday tournament just like we did,” Brown said. “They were at home and they had a lot of fans in the stands. We talked in the locker room before the game about not messing around and getting the job done. I thought we moved the ball really well and our press really hurt them because we were getting a lot of steals and forcing them to turn over the ball.”

Junior forward Raul Aguirre recorded 14 points and two steals for the Hubs, who forced 16 LaSalle-Peru turnovers. Senior forwards Cooper Hasz and Tanner Lager each scored 12 points, with Hasz grabbing nine rebounds and Lager pulling down six rebounds. Rochelle controlled the Cavaliers down low, outscoring LaSalle-Peru 38-24 on points in the paint and outrebounding LaSalle-Peru 35-25. The Hubs also outpaced the Cavaliers 26-11 in points off turnovers.

“We shot the ball very well and we were aggressive in taking the ball to the rim,” Brown said. “It makes us feel good when everyone scores the ball because it shows that we’re all capable of producing and we’re all scoring because we’re sharing the ball. I don’t think we had the right mindset earlier in the season, but we’re focused on getting locked in for the regional now and we’re ready to see what the remainder of the season has in store for us.”

Senior Adam Kemp totaled 11 points and five rebounds for the Hubs, while senior Ryan Simmons scored nine points and dished out a team-leading seven assists. Junior forward Aidan Darby chipped in six points and two rebounds in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.