DIXON — Dominance on the low post by the Dixon Duchesses was the deciding factor when the Rochelle varsity girls basketball team hit the road for nonconference play Monday evening in what was the first of four games this school week for the Lady Hubs.
Rochelle’s tough 1-2-2 zone defense limited Dixon’s scoring opportunities in the paint over the first half. Despite offensive struggles from the Lady Hubs, the Duchesses only led 24-12 at halftime.
However, Dixon’s forwards took over the game in the second half, as the Duchesses outscored Rochelle 18-11 in the third quarter and cruised to a 56-38 win over the Lady Hubs, dropping them to 6-21 overall. Rochelle played without freshman forward Sylvia Hasz, who missed the game with an ankle injury.
“I think our girls did a very good job on the 1-2-2 which was something we hadn’t played in a while,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “Without Sylvia on the floor, we’re missing a great defensive rebounder and shot blocker. But our kids did a great job of rotating, and Cheyene [Watson] was being really physical and getting hands on balls. Zoey [Tabor] did a great job of anticipating which helped us get steals and push the ball in transition.”
The Lady Hubs went over four minutes without points to begin the game before free throws from senior Abby Lundquist, who led Rochelle with 16 points in the loss, broke the dry spell. Sophomore Afi Gati added a putback layup, but Dixon led 11-4 after one quarter before extending its lead with a 13-8 performance in the second quarter despite freshman Zoey Tabor and senior Emilee Dueringer making 3-pointers for the Lady Hubs.
6-footers Elle Jarrett, Zoe Carr and Madelyn Chesley gave Rochelle everything it could handle in the second half, however, as the Dixon forwards put several layups in around the basket throughout the third and fourth quarters to extend the Duchess lead.
“When they’re catching the ball on the block, it’s a 6-foot girl against a 5-foot-8 girl,” Rowan said. “They were keeping the ball high and finishing well off the glass… Hopefully we’ll be able to skill-and-drill into Sylvia more when she comes back.”
Five different players scored points for Rochelle in the fourth quarter including freshman Lucy Bunger, who finished with six points for the Lady Hubs. Tabor added two free throws to finish with seven points, and sophomore Sofia Lenkaitis sunk a corner 3-pointer for her lone basket on the night.
Rochelle’s busy week will continue with a road game against Ottawa before the Lady Hubs return home for games against Geneseo on Wednesday and Mendota on Friday. Rochelle will then turn around and begin the IHSA Class 3A Regional at Mendota on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. with a quarterfinal matchup with Genoa-Kingston.
“It’s all about positive vibes for us,” Rowan said. “As long as we’re moving the basketball and playing for each other, good things will happen, and we won’t be focusing on how tired we are.”