Girls Basketball: Gehm begins first season with Lady Hubs

Senior Alivia Henkel returns to the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team after earning Interstate 8 All-Conference honors last season. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

All-Conference honoree Henkel headlines returning varsity players

ROCHELLE — Jonathon Gehm held his first official practice as the new head coach of the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team on Monday afternoon. The Lady Hubs return several players from the 2022-23 roster and are seeking to improve on an eight-win season last winter.

Rochelle will begin the 2023-24 campaign with the Oregon Tipoff Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The Lady Hubs will then travel to face Sterling and Princeton on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 before returning to host DeKalb on Monday, Nov. 27 for their first home game of the season. Interstate 8 Conference action will start with a road game at Sycamore on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

“It’s exciting and I know the girls are ready to go,” Gehm said. “I’ve been ready to go for a long time and with fall sports ending, basketball is now the focus and the girls are really excited. We’ve had a lot of energy in the gym and we’re ready for the season. We’re focusing on bringing energy and effort every single day. We want our girls to be working hard for themselves and their teammates. Our girls have had three coaches over the last three or four years.”

Seniors Alivia Henkel and Kara Martinez headline Rochelle’s returning varsity players for the 2023-24 season. Henkel earned Interstate 8 All-Conference honors last season as well as the team’s Most Valuable Player award during the 2022-23 campaign. The Lady Hubs also return senior Sydney Tabor, who was Rochelle’s Defender of the Year Award winner last winter. 

“We’ve been pushing Kara to be a bigger leader for us and she really took charge over the summer,” Gehm said. “Kennedy [Adamski] brings leadership everywhere she goes and Alivia has been around our team for a long time. We’re also looking for our juniors like Abby [Metzger] and Kendyl [Darby] to step up. Between our seniors and our juniors, we have a lot of leaders.”

Rochelle has several frontcourt players back from the 2022-23 roster including senior Kennedy Adamski as well as junior Abby Metzger. Junior Kendyl Darby also returns after finishing the 2022-23 campaign as one of the leading scorers for the Lady Hubs. The 2023-24 season will be the first at RTHS for Gehm, who replaces former head coach Ryan McQuade, who stepped down after two seasons at the helm. McQuade had previously taken over for Tony Rowan.

“We want to win games, but we also want to be playing our best basketball toward the end of the season,” Gehm said. “Our season will be about steady growth and never taking steps back.”