ROCHELLE — The Lady Hubs opened their nonconference matchup against Dixon with zero points on the scoreboard. When the first quarter expired, Rochelle still had a goose egg, and the Duchesses were well on their way to an easy victory.
Dixon tipped off the contest with a 10-0 performance in the first quarter behind Madelyn Chesley and Abby Guthrie, who combined for 29 points Tuesday evening. While the Lady Hubs fought back with a 9-4 run to begin the second quarter, the 25-win Duchesses were too strong, winning 56-21 and dropping Rochelle to 4-25 overall.
“We were flat tonight and we didn’t have much bounce in our step on offense,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “I thought we moved well defensively. We played a 25-win team tonight, and they scored their buckets when they needed them, but only allowing 10 points in the first quarter was huge for us... We need to be more consistent from quarter to quarter.”
Lady Hub guards Josie Lundquist and Sofia Lenkaitis initiated the Rochelle run in the second quarter, with both players hitting 3-pointers during the surge. Unfortunately for the purple and white, Lenkaitis and Lundquist were the only Rochelle players to score over the first three quarters on Tuesday. Both Chesley and Guthrie reached double figures for Dixon in the first half, where the Duchesses sprinted ahead 28-12.
“A lot of their work was done off screens,” Rowan said. “Dixon does a good job of setting screens and bodying up defenders. The more screens they set, the more down we got on defense, and they found their openings.”
Dixon dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Hubs 19-4 with Rochelle’s only points coming on 2-point shots from Lenkaitis and Lundquist, who teamed up for 16 points Tuesday. Chesley led the Duchesses with 15 points in the game, while Guthrie followed closely with 14 points. Rochelle will face LaSalle-Peru on the road Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
“I thought we were flat-footed tonight and we weren’t in attack mode,” Rowan said. “More kids need to step up and have the want to score, set screens and cut hard. Today, we didn’t really have the want, and hopefully that comes back for the game on Thursday.”
Rochelle received the No. 7 seed in the IHSA 3A Sycamore Regional next week. The Lady Hubs will face No. 9 seed Belvidere in the quarterfinals on Monday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. The winner will advance and play No. 1 seed Sycamore in the semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.
After going scoreless during the first quarter of their matchup with the Dixon Duchesses on Tuesday, the Lady Hubs opened Thursday’s Interstate 8 Conference basketball game at LaSalle-Peru with an early advantage.
Rochelle held a 9-6 lead over the Cavaliers before LaSalle-Peru broke the game open in the second quarter, scoring 19 consecutive points and dominating the Lady Hubs 37-11 over the second and third quarters. Behind 14 points and nine rebounds from 6-foot-2 forward Rhiannon Skoog, the Cavaliers defeated Rochelle 58-28.
“We were able to knock a few shots down in the first quarter,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “I thought we moved the ball well and I thought we defended well. We just couldn’t make shots throughout the game. Their offensive rebounding was really good in the second and third quarters, and they turned on their full-court press after that. The press wasn’t giving us trouble initially, but we started to make poor decision when they stretched out their lead.”
Lauren Klein also scored 14 points for the Cavaliers, who dropped the Lady Hubs to 4-26 overall and 1-13 in the conference to end the regular season. Sophomore Josie Lundquist led Rochelle with 10 points, while forward Afi Gati grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, with 11 boards coming in the first half. Sam House chipped in seven points for the Lady Hubs.
“Afi did a great job of boxing out their 6-foot-2 girl,” Rowan said. “If she didn’t box her out, the ball would have wound up in her hands, and she would be within 3 feet of the basket for an easy layup. Afi blocked her out well and she was staying in good positions.”
Rochelle will begin its postseason run as the No. 7 seed in the IHSA 3A Sycamore Regional on Monday at 7 p.m. The Lady Hubs will face No. 9 seed Belvidere, with the winner advancing to play No. 1 seed Sycamore in the semifinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“I think we match up with Belvidere pretty well,” Rowan said. “The biggest thing for us is that we can’t hang our heads. There were times during the game tonight where, since we haven’t had the greatest season, we started hanging our heads and multiple things started going wrong. If we can stay confident in ourselves and be positive, good things will happen along the way.”