Girls Basketball: Dominant defense keys win over Plano

Sophomore Sydney Tabor races Plano's Sanai Young down the floor during the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball game against the Reapers on Saturday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Lundquist leads with 13 points as Rochelle defeats Reapers 50-26

ROCHELLE — Senior Lucy Bunger and members of the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team were challenged to step up on defense when new head coach Ryan McQuade took over the program this past year. Bunger and the Lady Hubs continued to showcase their defensive improvements during an Interstate 8 Conference matchup against Plano on Saturday.

Rochelle shut down the Plano offense in the first quarter, holding the Reapers without a point and building a double-digit lead before coasting to a 50-26 victory. Ten different players scored points for the Lady Hubs (8-11, 2-3 Interstate 8), who led Plano 15-0 after the first quarter.

“I think when we bring good energy to the court, that energy becomes contagious,” Bunger said. “When we find our rhythm, it feels like a domino effect and we all become involved. I really like our defense right now and I think we’ve had a lot of success with our extended 1-2-2 zone defense as well as our pressing. After halftime, I talked with our coach about running a funnel down defense and we were able to generate a bunch of turnovers with our traps.”

Senior forward Abby Luxton was Rochelle’s go-to scorer in the first quarter, using her 6-foot-1 length to sink three post-up shots around the rim for six of her eight points in the win. Senior Josie Lundquist picked up the momentum in the second quarter, knocking down a 3-pointer from the elbow before dominating the third quarter with a series of successful drives to the basket. Lundquist led the Lady Hubs with 13 points in her return from an ankle injury.

“We’re very generous with the basketball and nobody’s greedy with it,” Bunger said. “I thought we passed the ball really well and we finished with a lot of assists. We’ve had a lot of success with our Gonzaga offense, where we look for the slip pass after the screen-and-roll. It was a great team win. We have great leaders on this team and I think our confidence will be important for us down the stretch. We have to come out with a winning mentality.”

Rochelle led 29-15 at halftime before Plano’s Ryssa Woodhouse began to heat up, converting three triples and scoring all 13 of her points in the second half. But the Lady Hubs, who remained ahead 44-20 after three quarters, built a large enough lead early in the game to cruise to the win. Junior Torrin Nantz finished with five points, while three players scored four points including junior Bailey Jackson, sophomore Sydney Tabor and freshman Kendyl Darby.