ROCHELLE — Injuries and illnesses have worn the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team down over its last few games. After a tough conference loss against Ottawa on Monday evening, head coach Ryan McQuade said that health and wellness are the team’s biggest priorities as the purple and white continue their push toward the end of the regular season.
Rochelle battled with the Pirates throughout the first quarter, leaning on its defensive effort and energy to force missed shots and create turnovers. But the Lady Hubs had no answers on the offensive end, where a scoreless second quarter highlighted the team’s struggles as Ottawa ultimately took a double-digit lead in the first half and cruised for a 47-16 win over Rochelle.
“I thought we competed well early in the game, but as Ottawa ramped up its pressure, we really struggled against their ball pressure,” McQuade said. “It’s been a struggle for us all season and pretty much every drill we do in practice right now deals with ball pressure in some manner. We’re dealing with a lot of sickness on our team right now and the injury bug has been an issue for us. We aren’t going to win many games scoring 16 points, but we need to get healthy.”
Junior Alivia Henkel sparked the Lady Hubs in the first quarter, knocking down a pair of mid-range shots and converting a layup in transition for all six of her points in the game. Ottawa held an 11-8 advantage entering the second quarter, where Ryleigh Stehl and Morgan Stone each sank a 3-pointer to extend the Ottawa lead. The Pirates dominated the boards on Monday night, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and scoring on second-chance opportunities.
Finishing one-and-out on nearly all of their offensive possessions, the Lady Hubs fell behind 23-8 entering the third quarter, where Ottawa’s Kendall Lowery nailed two triples to cap off a team-leading 15-point performance in the game. Rochelle received a boost off the bench from junior Kara Martinez, who hit a 3-pointer and a layup under the basket in the third quarter.
The Pirates clinched their win with fourth-quarter triples from Hailey Larsen and Mary Stisser. Rochelle made only one field goal in the fourth quarter, which came on a mid-range shot from senior Miraya Montes. The Lady Hubs (7-20, 5-6 Interstate 8) host Sandwich on Friday at 7 p.m.