SYCAMORE — Junior guard Seth Gould may not score many points from the perimeter, but his ability to seemingly be in the right place at the perfect moment came into play when the Rochelle varsity boys basketball team continued tournament action at the Leland G. Strombom Thanksgiving Championship against Sycamore on Friday.
Gould scored only five points over Rochelle’s previous two tournament games. That didn’t hold the 6-foot-2-inch guard from finding his rhythm around the basket against Sycamore, scoring a season-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting with a team-best five steals to lead the Hubs on defense in their 58-39 victory over the Spartans. The win bumped Rochelle up to 2-1 overall.
“Seth will do anything it takes to win the game,” head coach Tim Thompson said. “He’s really aggressive in going after offensive and defensive rebounds. He’s aggressive when attacking the hoop, and he’s figuring out when and where to attack the basket at the varsity level… It was really nice to see him have a productive game.”
Despite trailing 14-10 after the first quarter, the Rochelle defense tightened up in ways it hadn’t been able to against Dundee-Crown and Belvidere earlier in the week. The Hubs combined for 30 points over the second and third quarters while holding Sycamore to only 10 points, five in each quarter, to flip the game over on the Spartans. Sycamore shot just 26 percent overall.
“Our zone really gave them a lot of problems,” Thompson said. “They were having difficulties finding where to get shots from and they were missing shots when they had them.”
Leading 40-24 entering the fourth quarter, Rochelle remained heavy on transition scoring and tough defense to maintain its advantage over Sycamore. The Hubs finished with eight steals and nine blocked shots including a season-high eight blocks by senior forward Johnny Beck, who also had 24 points and nine rebounds in the win.
Sophomore guard Garrett Burdin made three 3-point shots for the second consecutive game, finishing with nine points and six rebounds. Junior Austin Brown added five points and two steals, with senior Kaleb Ackland and junior Landan Martin each chipping in two points.
“I think Garrett loves to shoot the 3-pointer,” Thompson said. “We think that he can shoot the ball at a high percentage right now… When he’s set and nobody goes near him, the ball is going in. We’re going to need that throughout the year as teams continue to double-team Johnny.”