Boys Basketball: Hubs emerge with overtime win over Ottawa

Junior Eli Luxton shoots over an Ottawa defender during the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball game against the Pirates on Tuesday. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Aguirre scores 20 points as Rochelle outlasts Pirates 72-67

OTTAWA — Back-to-back tough losses in the Interstate 8 Conference didn’t prevent the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team from staying together as the purple and white sought to snap a three-game losing streak against the Ottawa Pirates on the road Tuesday evening.

Senior forward Raul Aguirre scored a team-high 20 points and knocked down a crucial 3-pointer late in the game for the Hubs, who rallied for a 72-67 win over the Pirates in overtime to end a three-game conference skid. Rochelle (6-10, 2-5 Interstate 8) overcame 23 turnovers in the game with a dominant effort on the boards, where the Hubs outrebounded Ottawa 49-38.

“It was a team effort for us to be controlled and be strong with the ball during crunch time,” Aguirre said. “We took a couple of timeouts toward the end of the game and our coaches encouraged us to be strong with the ball. Our young guys took those words to heart and I was really proud of how we finished the game. This is a huge win for us and for our confidence.”

The Hubs started fast on the offensive end, surging ahead 23-14 after the first quarter. The 6-foot-5 forward Aguirre, who grabbed nine rebounds in the game, was the go-to player for Rochelle early in the game, scoring on several low-post shots and finishing 7-for-11 from the field. Aguirre was also 2-for-2 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 on free throws in the victory.

“Ottawa was 5-1 entering the game and we made it a lot tougher for them to win the conference this season,” Aguirre said. “There are a lot of games we can win if we play our style of basketball. It was great that my coaches and teammates trusted me to make shots during difficult stretches of the game. Carson [Lewis] made a great pass to me late in the game for a 3-pointer and my teammates made great passes to me early in the game so I could score.”

Junior Eli Luxton was active on the boards throughout the game, finishing with a team-high 13 rebounds while adding eight points. The Pirates worked their way back into the game during the second quarter, making the score 35-34 Rochelle at the half. Levi Sheehan and Cooper Knoll fueled the offense for the Pirates, with Sheehan totaling 14 points and Knoll adding 13 points.

The Hubs leaned on their defense during the third quarter, where the purple and white held Ottawa to only eight points and surged ahead 51-42 entering the fourth quarter. Sophomore Cayden Moore recorded 11 points and notched a team-leading four steals, while Luxton and sophomore Carson Lewis each had three deflections in the win. Lewis totaled 10 points for the Hubs, who outscored the Pirates 11-6 during the overtime period to secure the victory.

“We switched our defensive scheme during the game,” Aguirre said. “Our zone defense gave them trouble because Ottawa runs an offense with a lot of motion and it can be troublesome for our man-to-man defense to keep up. But our zone defense forced them into looks they weren’t used to and I thought we did a great job of adjusting from our press-man defense to our zone.”

Junior Jack Tracey finished with eight points, while junior Jack Lodico compiled seven points, two steals and four rebounds. Senior David Gerber chipped in five points and senior Colton O’Rorke dished out four assists in the win.