SYCAMORE — The Sterling Golden Warriors provided a tough matchup for the Rochelle varsity boys basketball team when the two Northern Illinois Big 12 West opponents squared off for the rights to third place in the Leland G. Strombom Thanksgiving Championship at Sycamore High School on Saturday.
Three Sterling players ended the game in double figures, and the Golden Warriors held Rochelle to under 36 percent shooting from the field as the Hubs fell by a final score of 72-53 to drop to 2-2 overall. Sterling outscored Rochelle in all four quarters of play, leading by 11 points at halftime. The Golden Warriors finished the game hitting roughly 56 percent of their shots.
“They shot the ball really well and they aren’t a good matchup for us,” Thompson said. “If they’re going to shoot that well, it’s going to be very difficult for us to beat them at any time… Their coach made some good decisions putting different defenders on Johnny [Beck], and we had a difficult time throwing entry passes into Johnny.”
Sterling leaned on 6-foot-10-inch center Aidan Shore throughout the game, and Shore was a key component in the Golden Warriors outscoring Rochelle in the paint 36-14. Shore also grabbed 14 rebounds for Sterling, helping his team outboard the Hubs 38-29.
Senior Johnny Beck scored 14 points and totaled four rebounds to lead Rochelle on Saturday. Sophomore Garrett Burdin recorded 13 points while making three 3-point shots for the third consecutive game, and junior guard Landan Martin scored 11 points with a team-best four assists. Sterling led 34-23 at halftime.
“We planned to work Johnny a bit more on the perimeter if [Aidan] Shore guarded him but it didn’t end up working out that way,” Thompson said. “We had good looks at the basket but we couldn’t make enough of them… We get to play them two more times and I think our kids will get more comfortable against them, but it will look much different next Friday as they get their football players into shape.”