Boys Basketball: Lager building up shooting form

Junior Tanner Lager shoots the ball during Rochelle’s varsity game against Ottawa this past season. Lager said he’s working to sharpen his shooting as he prepares for his next varsity season. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Junior guard working back from offseason injury

Tanner Lager made his money at the basket this past season, taking opponents off the dribble and using his strong 6-foot-2 frame to maneuver around defenders and finish at the rim. His efforts scoring the basketball played a significant role in the Rochelle Hub sophomore team putting together its most successful season in recent history this past year.

Lager started at guard for the sophomore team and played a reserve role with the varsity team, helping the sophomores to a 24-5 record and an Interstate 8 Conference Championship. As Lager prepares for his junior season, he said his goals are to earn more minutes and improve his perimeter shooting ability after suffering a hand injury during the offseason.

“I’m hoping I can get quite a bit of minutes on the varsity team,” Lager said. “I’m hoping I can score more points and help the team do whatever it takes to win. I’ve been working on my shooting rhythm a lot since I recently broke my hand over the summer playing AAU basketball. I’ve also been working on getting my finishing rhythm back as well.”

Lager will be one of several juniors looking to fill starting roles in the varsity backcourt after the team graduated four of its top six players including guards Austin Brown and Landan Martin. Lager is more than capable of stepping up next season, having score over 20 points multiple times at the sophomore level last year. Lager scored a team-high 24 points when Rochelle defeated LaSalle-Peru on the road to clinch its first sophomore conference title in 11 years.

“We bonded really well and we’ve played together for quite some time,” Lager said. “We moved the ball really well and we’re hoping that will carry over to the varsity team… I think we’re hoping we can win a regional championship next year. I thought I became more familiar with our system playing on the varsity team last year and I think this year will be easier for me.”

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