Boys Basketball: Tough third quarter dooms Rochelle against LaSalle-Peru

Junior Zach Sanford works down low while guarded by LaSalle-Peru’s Latrell Coulter during the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball game against the Cavaliers on Friday. Sanford scored 11 points in the loss. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Weber sparks Cavaliers to 37-point period as Hubs fall 83-64

ROCHELLE — A disastrous third quarter ruined any chances of victory for the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team during Interstate 8 Conference play against LaSalle-Peru on Friday.

Rochelle held a slim 45-42 lead over LaSalle-Peru early in the third quarter before Cavalier senior Drake Weber ignited from beyond the arc, sinking four 3-pointers and scoring 18 of his game-high 34 points in the period. LaSalle-Peru throttled the Hubs 37-19 in the third quarter, sealing an 83-64 win over Rochelle that dropped the purple and white to 1-2 overall.

“I felt that not only Weber, but everybody on their team was making shots,” head coach Tim Thompson said. “Our defensive rotations were so slow tonight and I felt that we didn’t do any of the things we prided ourselves on against Sycamore on Tuesday. They were getting their first dribble into the lane and kicking the ball for wide open looks. When teams get wide open looks, they’re going to make open shots… I felt that they wanted to win this game more than we did.”

Weber was one of three Cavaliers in double figures Friday evening. LaSalle-Peru held a slight 23-20 advantage after the first quarter behind nine points on four made field goals from John Riva, who finished with 17 in the game. Senior Garrett Burdin was Rochelle’s first-half spark plug, nailing four of his game-high seven triples in the opening half to keep the Hubs within striking distance. A sloppy second quarter from both sides resulted in a 34-34 game at half.

“The first half was a little ugly,” Thompson said. “There were a lot of points scored because neither team was really guarding that well. I wouldn’t say we shot the ball that well but we made some plays to stay in the game. Our offense was super stagnant in the second half. We couldn’t make reversals and we weren’t getting enough inside touches for easy baskets.”

Burdin finished with 25 points on a team-leading nine made shots for the Hubs, who will host Sandwich on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. after facing Kaneland on the road this weekend. Juniors Adam Kemp and Zach Sanford combined for 23 points, with Kemp totaling 12 and converting three 3-pointers while Sanford added 11. Junior Tanner Lager had eight points.

“I think Garrett can score 20-to-25 for us every night,” Thompson said. “We need to be crisper offensively and it seems that every team we’re playing right now is preventing us from getting ball reversals, which shouldn’t be that big of a deal. We’re lazy on our passes and we have to be better there… Our ball rotations have to be quicker and Zach has to touch the ball inside.”

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