ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team needed nearly 10 minutes to score its first basket of the 2020-21 season Tuesday evening, when the defending Interstate 8 Conference champion Sycamore Spartans came to town and proved they’ll be the team to beat.
A scoreless first quarter doomed Rochelle from the opening tip-off, with Sycamore surging ahead behind a 3-point barrage from Faith Feuerbach and Lexi Carlsen, who combined for 33 points and seven triples. Faith Klemm added 12 points and a pair of 3-pointers for Sycamore, who dominated the Lady Hubs 64-25 and held Rochelle to six points in the first half.
“It’s hard to simulate their pressure defense,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “We can go over man-to-man and zone defenses, but it’s hard to simulate their athleticism on the floor and their basketball IQ when reading passing lanes. We’ve had good practices recently and we’ve tried upping our intensity, but their hands were very active. We ran a different offense in the second half where things were more simplified and kids saw more driving and passing lanes.”
Junior Josie Lundquist broke Rochelle’s scoreless drought with a layup under the basket in the second quarter for two of her team-high 11 points. Lundquist made four field goals in the game including the only two 3-pointers on the night for the Lady Hubs. Sycamore led 37-6 at halftime and grew its lead to 57-13 after three quarters, using its pressure defense to force several Rochelle turnovers and create transition layups and 3-point shooting opportunities.
“Josie did a great job using her shoulder to dig down on her defenders and create space for her jump shots,” Rowan said. “Our message to the girls after the game was not to be disappointed, but be hungry. Sycamore’s a very good team and I know they’ve been playing together for a long time. They have a lot of balance and they’ll be strong for the next few years. We need to keep pushing forward because Kaneland will be another tough matchup.”
The Lady Hub offense finished strong with 12 fourth-quarter points including four from junior Zoey Tabor, who ended the night with five points on a pair of layups and a free throw. Junior Abby Luxton sunk two second-half layups at the basket for four of her five points. Rochelle (0-1) will host Kaneland on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m.