Girls Basketball: Lady Hub offense struggles against Eastland

Junior Alivia Henkel dribbles down the floor during the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball game against Eastland on Thursday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle falls 46-21 in Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament opener

FORRESTON — The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team had a difficult time finding scoring opportunities during Thursday’s Forreston Tournament opener against Eastland.

Looking to bounce back from a tough road loss at Guilford on Wednesday, Rochelle leaned on its defense early, but the Lady Hubs struggled on the offensive end, falling to the Cougars 46-21. Juniors Alivia Henkel and Kennedy Adamski each scored four points for Rochelle (0-2, 0-0 Interstate 8) in the loss, while senior Francesca Williams added three fourth-quarter points.

“We had a hard time putting the ball in the basket,” head coach Ryan McQuade said. “We need someone to take control of this basketball team and we haven’t seen that so far. I thought we played with effort during the second half, but the first half was where we lost the game.”

Eastland looked to establish its post players early in the game, but tough inside-out defense from the Lady Hubs helped shield the Cougars from finding opportunities around the rim. Henkel and sophomore Abby Metzger each made field goals for the Lady Hubs in the first quarter, where Rochelle held the Cougars to a 10-6 lead before Eastland began pulling away in the second quarter, using quick ball movement to create open shots around the perimeter.

“I thought we were active defensively in the first quarter in terms of our hands and our rotations,” McQuade said. “We were slower with our rotations in the second quarter and those are things that we’ll review on film and we’ll look to fix when we come back and play our next game.”

Senior Torrin Nantz swished Rochelle’s first and only 3-pointer of the game late in the second quarter, while junior Megan Seebach entered off the bench and made a layup under the basket for the Lady Hubs, who trailed 26-9 at halftime. The Cougars surged ahead in the third quarter, forcing turnovers with their half-court defense and using their superior size down low to score several baskets around the rim. Eastland led Rochelle 41-15 after three quarters on Thursday.

“There are some things that we can’t control on a night-to-night basis, but we have to start looking to run our offense as opposed to playing so much one-on-one basketball,” McQuade said. “We have a lot of things we need to work on, but I know we’re capable of playing better.”

Rochelle sank three close-range jumpers in the third quarter including two from Adamski and one from Henkel. Metzger and Williams each split a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter, where senior Bailey Jackson scored on a layup in the final seconds of the game.