ROCHELLE — The Ottawa girls basketball team drained three straight 3-pointers and closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run when Rochelle faced the Pirates at home Friday evening. The brief scoring spurt proved big enough to doom the Lady Hubs as the purple and white searched for their first Interstate 8 Conference victory of the season.
Ottawa guard Brooke Waddell sunk two of the late first-quarter triples, pushing the Pirates ahead 14-6 entering the second quarter. Waddell converted a team-high four 3-pointers in the game, and Ottawa built off its early advantage, maintaining it throughout the night to defeat Rochelle 50-37 and drop the Lady Hubs to 3-23 overall and 0-11 in conference play.
“Any momentum a team can build is huge, especially when that team’s playing a conference game on the road,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “Those consecutive 3-pointers were huge for their confidence and their offense. They moved the ball well during that sequence.”
The Lady Hubs held Ottawa forward Regan O’Fallon to 13 points when Rochelle faced the Pirates earlier this season. O’Fallon was far more difficult to contain this time around, as the 6-footer used her superior size to draw multiple fouls and put her team in the bonus midway through the second quarter. Junior Sam House kept Rochelle in the mix, however, scoring seven of her nine points in the first half and keeping Ottawa within seven points at halftime, 22-15.
The Pirates ran most of their offense through O’Fallon in the first half, and that theme continued in the second half, where the Ottawa senior scored 16 of her game-high 27 points. The Pirates led by as many as 13 points before sophomore Josie Lundquist nailed a 3-pointer and Sofia Lenkaitis added a layup to help the Lady Hubs close the third quarter on a 5-0 run.
“A lot of [O’Fallon’s] points came on free throws and offensive rebounds,” Rowan said. “She did a tremendous job of getting after the basketball. We gave up a lot of defensive box-outs on her, and she was able to get her hands on the ball, get fouled and go to the line.”
Leading 33-25 entering the fourth quarter, Ottawa managed to keep its 8-to-10-point cushion intact throughout the final minutes. The Pirates shut down Rochelle’s perimeter scoring attack, holding the Lady Hubs to only three made 3-pointers in the game. Lundquist led Rochelle with 10 points in the game, while Lenkaitis and House each finished with nine points. The Lady Hubs will face Morris on the road Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.
“They take pride in their defense and rotating as fast as they can,” Rowan said. “They’ve used the same defensive system since they were in middle school. They did a great job rotating and pressuring the basketball. They don’t think about what to do, they just do it.”