ROCHELLE — On an evening where Sycamore basketball standout Kylie Feuerbach surpassed the 2,000-point mark for her career, the underdog Lady Hubs made the favored Spartans work for everything when the two Interstate 8 Conference teams played Monday night.
Rochelle’s first encounter with Sycamore resulted in the Spartans throttling the Lady Hubs 75-23. Monday’s rematch was far more competitive, and despite rallying with some big shots in the fourth quarter, the purple and white were still unable to match Sycamore, falling 60-45 and dropping their 12th straight game. The Lady Hubs are now 3-22 overall.
“I thought the girls had a better mindset tonight,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “When the kids come in and play for each other, they forget about who’s on the other side of the court. They really committed to playing for each other this game, and it really showed in their effort tonight. Multiple kids were able to score and play positive minutes.”
Sycamore blew Rochelle out in the conference matchup earlier this season behind a barrage of 3-point shots throughout the first half. Monday was a different story, however, as the Lady Hubs contained the perimeter much better and forced the Spartans into more contested shots. While Rochelle stepped up defensively, Sycamore’s superior length and athleticism made scoring difficult for the Lady Hubs, who trailed 14-6 after the first quarter.
“We definitely wanted to limit their perimeter shooting,” Rowan said. “I know they have us outdone in terms of team athleticism, but we really defended well in our man-to-man. I was proud of our defense tonight, and when you’re playing against a great team, even the slightest rotation mistake or miscommunication will be capitalized on.”
Sycamore increased its lead to 31-16 by halftime. With the Spartans still ahead, Feuerbach earned a standing ovation during a stoppage of play in the third quarter after scoring her 2,000th career point on a layup. Feuerbach led all players with 20 points in the game.
Rochelle trailed 46-26 entering the fourth quarter, but the Lady Hubs didn’t fold, getting key baskets including 3-pointers from Bella Lodico and Sam House as well as a 3-point play from forward Afi Gati. Junior Sofia Lenkaitis sunk a 3-pointer before Rochelle called a timeout with the Lady Hubs within 11 points at 55-44 with 51.2 seconds remaining. Sycamore closed the game on a 5-1 run to ice the victory. Lenkaitis led Rochelle with 10 points.
“We were flowing without the basketball,” Rowan said. “We may not have had Sycamore on its heels, but we stayed true to ourselves. We took good shots and we attacked and spaced the floor when and where we needed to. We played for each other defensively, and having a few days off definitely helped our legs as opposed to playing back-to-back games.”
House totaled nine points on three triples for the Lady Hubs, with sophomore Josie Lundquist scoring eight points and Gati adding seven points.
The Lady Hubs battled Rock Falls on the road this past Friday, falling 51-17 and moving to 3-21 overall. Rochelle struggled offensively, shooting only 19.4 percent from the field and going scoreless in the entire third quarter. The Rockets led 26-12 at halftime and 40-12 after three quarters.
Sofia Lenkaitis scored five points for the Lady Hubs and two players including Mary Coglianese and Lucy Bunger totaled three points. Afi Gati led Rochelle with two steals and Elise Hayenga grabbed a team-high five rebounds.