ROCHELLE — The Rochelle boys basketball team entered Saturday’s Interstate 8 Conference battle against Sycamore having fallen to the Spartans twice this season. The third time was nearly the charm for the purple and white, but the Hubs were unable to hold on for the win.
Rochelle and Sycamore entered the fourth quarter tied 36-36, and the Spartans slowly crept ahead as the quarter progressed. Behind senior guard Grant McConkey, who scored a team-high 18 points for the Spartans, Sycamore outscored Rochelle 22-11 in the final quarter to beat the Hubs 58-47. Rochelle fell to 12-11 overall and 4-5 in the conference.
“I thought the kids were ready to play,” head coach Tim Thompson said. “We pressed them early on and I thought we wore them down, but like the other two games, we didn’t shoot the ball well enough. We felt pretty good entering the fourth quarter and we felt that we could win a tight game, but a low-scoring game was going to be more difficult for us to handle. Both teams made runs in the fourth quarter, but they made some big plays late in the game.”
Senior Landan Martin led the Hubs with 18 points, while senior Seth Gould added 10 points. Sycamore forward Xavier Gagnepain continued to trouble Rochelle on the glass, totaling 14 rebounds and providing Sycamore with multiple second-chance scoring opportunities. The Hubs will look to get back on track when they host Stillman Valley on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“I thought our effort was there and we guarded better than we have for most of the season,” Thompson said. “We can battle with some teams that are bigger and more physical than us. We stayed true to ourselves defensively, but we were beaten on the boards again.”