Boys Basketball: Hubs spread the wealth against Westmont

Sophomore Eli Luxton leads the fastbreak during the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball game against Westmont on Saturday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

All 13 active players score points as Rochelle cruises over Sentinels 83-55

ROCHELLE — Senior forward Zach Sanford used his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame to his advantage against a much smaller Westmont frontcourt when the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team hosted the Sentinels for a nonconference matchup Saturday afternoon.

Sanford’s presence on the floor has made a profound difference for the Hubs, who’re now 6-0 since his return from an offseason knee injury after cruising over Westmont 83-55 on Saturday. The senior forward also enjoyed his best performance of the season, scoring 12 points off the bench and grabbing multiple offensive rebounds against the smaller and less physical Sentinels.

“It feels really good to be back and I think my teammates are really happy to have me back on the floor with them,” said Sanford, who was an Interstate 8 All-Conference Honorable Mention during his junior season. “I’m hoping to have that big presence down low where I can grab some offensive rebounds and score on putbacks. I think we’ve been clicking a lot since our break after the Christmas tournament. We’re ready to go and we’re setting our eyes on a conference title.”

Rochelle (11-8, 6-1 Interstate 8) dominated the first quarter, using its pace on offense to push the ball quickly down the floor and score several easy layups around the basket. Senior Ryan Simmons knocked down two 3-pointers and scored 10 of his team-high 19 points in the first quarter to give the Hubs a 27-7 lead. Sanford asserted his dominance down low during the second quarter, sinking three putback shots after pulling down the offensive rebounds to help extend Rochelle’s lead.

“We’ve all been working hard during practice and we’re playing as a team,” Sanford said. “We have to keep playing as a team and we have to stay aggressive. It felt really good to score as many points as I did today. It was nice that I could prove I can go out there and be effective.”

The Hubs led 45-23 at halftime and continued to pour in shots during the third quarter. Senior Noah Brown knocked down a pair of triples for six of his 14 points in the win, while five players came off the bench to score including senior Forrest Gerber and juniors David Gerber, Raul Aguirre and Aidan Darby.

Leading 71-44 after three quarters, Rochelle iced the victory in the fourth quarter, where juniors Colton O’Rorke and Landon DeLille each swished 3-pointers. All 13 active players scored at least two points for the first time this season.