DIXON — Junior point guard Sofia Lenkaitis had her offensive talents on display when the Lady Hubs tipped off their KSB Dixon Holiday Classic game against Quincy on Thursday.
Lenkaitis torched the Blue Devils from the perimeter, knocking down six 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 21 points including all nine of the second-quarter points for Rochelle. While Lenkaitis found her rhythm early in the game, the Lady Hubs were unable to crack Quincy’s interior defense, and a dominant fourth quarter from the Blue Devils doomed Rochelle in the team’s 61-34 loss. The Lady Hubs (3-11) fell against Woodstock earlier in the afternoon.
“This was definitely a game where Sofia was focused and she moved into open areas really well,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “She knocked down both uncontested and semicontested shots for us. We talked at halftime about getting the hot player the ball, so we tried finding different ways to move her around throughout the game.”
Quincy forwards Emily Wilson and Brin Hultz were tough to handle, as the two Blue Devils were boxing out Lady Hubs throughout the evening and earning second-chance shots at the rim as a result. Rochelle trailed 17-10 after the first quarter, and while the Lady Hubs moved the ball well around the perimeter, Wilson and Hultz prevented Rochelle from getting any offense going in the paint or toward the basket. After three quarters, Quincy led 39-28.
“We were a little sluggish throughout the game,” Rowan said. “It was our second game of the day, but it was the second game for Quincy as well. When the other team has a few bigger bodies that can bang around, it can wear us down as the game progresses.”
The Blue Devils took over in the fourth quarter, pressing more on the perimeter and forcing several Lady Hub turnovers that resulted in easy layups on the other end. Quincy opened the fourth quarter on an 18-4 run that features putbacks from Hultz, Wilson and corner 3-pointers. Guards Jordin Dickey and Bella Lodico combined for nine points in the game for Rochelle.
“Our 2-3 zone was working pretty well for us throughout the game, but we need to be a little more aggressive in our man-to-man defense,” Rowan said. “Even when we’re tired, we have to take advantage of our opportunities.”
The Lady Hubs faced Woodstock in the opening round of the KSB Dixon Holiday Classic. Rochelle fought hard but fell a little short, losing 39-34 despite 10 points from Josie Lundquist and seven points from both Sofia Lenkaitis and Sam House. The Lady Hubs had the edge on the boards, outrebounding Woodstock 24-17 in the game.
“A lot of what happened came down to the second half,” Rowan said. “Keeping Woodstock under 40 points was a huge plus, but when we’re not scoring many points, we need to find different ways to score. Live-ball turnovers and pushing the ball after defensive rebounds are ways we can score as opposed to relying only on our half-court offense.”
Rochelle started slowly in the first half, scoring only three points in the first quarter and six points in the second quarter. The Lady Hubs continued to battle on defense, however, limiting Woodstock to three points in the second quarter to enter the locker room trailing 13-9 at half.
Both teams stepped up on the scoring end throughout the second half, with the Blue Streaks totaling 20 third-quarter points and Rochelle recording 15 points. While the Lady Hubs outscored Woodstock 10-6 during the fourth quarter, the early deficit proved costly in the loss. Elise Hayenga led Rochelle with six rebounds, and Lucy Bunger notched a team-high four steals.