MAPLE PARK — The Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team refused to fold despite scoring only four points in the first quarter of its Interstate 8 Conference battle at Kaneland on Saturday.
Rochelle conceded a sizeable lead early in the game, but the Hubs battled back and finished strong, holding Kaneland to seven fourth-quarter points and pushing the game into overtime. Knight seniors Porter Conroy and Jamari Meeks stepped up late however, sinking a pair of clutch 3-pointers including a 27-footer from Meeks that sealed Kaneland’s 64-61 victory. The Hubs (1-3) will look to bounce back against Sandwich on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
“Meeks hitting that 27-footer when we were up three points was a key shot for them,” head coach Tim Thompson said. “I thought we were gaining momentum but he tied the game up and their guards kept pushing us out. We made a couple of turnovers that were costly during the overtime period and one of our defensive rotations was slow on Conroy’s 3-pointer. I thought the kids battled, but we made mistakes all night that hurt us during overtime.”
Trailing 43-36 entering the fourth quarter, Rochelle rallied behind junior forward Zach Sanford, who recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds on 22 post touches. Juniors Noah Brown, Adam Kemp and Ryan Simmons also stepped up with big-time 3-pointers down the stretch. The three juniors combined for 27 points and seven triples in the game.
“I thought we rebounded the ball well offensively and we hit more shots in the second half,” Thompson said. “We started pressing more on defense late in the game and Kaneland missed some easy shots that allowed us to make some plays in transition… We kept weathering the storm and I thought getting Zach more touches helped us wear them down late in the game.”
Conroy and Meeks carried the load for Kaneland on Saturday, teaming up for 42 points with Conroy scoring a game-high 22 while Meeks added 20. The Knights forced 24 Hub turnovers and limited Rochelle senior Garrett Burdin to 15 points on 1-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Kaneland led 11-4 after the first quarter and maintained a 25-19 advantage at halftime.
“I thought Kaneland played really solid half-court defense,” Thompson said. “Their guards were quick and they gave us problems early. I thought we had some good looks, but we weren’t making shots and we were turning the ball over and letting them score points in transition.”
The Rochelle Hub sophomore basketball team fell 63-33 against Kaneland on Saturday. The sophomores are now 0-4 overall and will host Sandwich on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The Rochelle Hub freshman basketball team has finished 2-1 over its first three games this season. After a 44-20 victory against Stillman Valley, Rochelle defeated Sycamore 49-43 on Wednesday before falling 57-22 against LaSalle-Peru on Thursday.