Girls Basketball: Turnovers hurt Lady Hubs against Rock Falls

Junior Sydney Tabor dribbles through Rock Falls defenders Brooke Howard and Rylee Johnson during the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball game against the Rockets on Wednesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Nantz, Darby combine for five 3-pointers in 54-35 loss

ROCHELLE — Turnovers have held the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team back from finding success at the start of this season. Currently averaging 30 turnovers per game, Rochelle struggled with giveaways once again on Wednesday, when the Lady Hubs faced Rock Falls.

Two 8-0 runs from the Rockets when the score was tight allowed Rock Falls to build a double-digit lead during the second half. Despite a combined five 3-pointers from senior Torrin Nantz and sophomore Kendyl Darby, Rochelle was unable to come back from the early deficit, falling 54-35 and suffering a fifth consecutive loss. The Lady Hubs (1-7, 0-0 Interstate 8) will host the Kaneland Knights for their first conference matchup of the season this weekend.

“We had two moments in the game where we could make a run, but they came out on 8-0 runs in both cases and they were able to put us away,” head coach Ryan McQuade said. “We need to buckle down and focus in those situations because more of the pressure is on our opponents, but we weren’t able to take advantage. Turnovers have been a huge deal for us throughout this season and they’re a huge reason why we’re 1-7 right now. We need to play with confidence.”

Nantz swished all three of her 3-pointers in the first half to give the Lady Hubs an early spark. Rock Falls leaned on guard Brooke Howard, who managed to drive through the Rochelle man-to-man defense for a handful of first-half layups. Howard led the Rockets with 13 points, while Nantz finished as the leading scorer for the Lady Hubs with nine points on Wednesday.

“It was nice to see Torrin get going and it was the best she’s looked all season in terms of her shooting,” McQuade said. “We struggled at the start of the game with our man-to-man defense and our 2-3 zone didn’t work either. We had some success in our 1-2-2 zone toward the end of the second quarter and throughout the third quarter, but we ran out of gas near the end of the game because we were playing from behind and we’ve played from behind quite a bit this year.”

Rock Falls entered the double bonus late in the first half, capitalizing on their aggressive drives to the basket with multiple free-throw opportunities. Rochelle trailed 33-23 entering the third quarter, where Darby converted the second of her two 3-pointers in the game. The Rockets held the Lady Hubs to four second-half field goals, however, building a 47-31 lead after the third quarter and limiting Rochelle to one fourth-quarter field goal from senior Miraya Montes. 

“Our struggles have been a culmination of factors from our lack of experience to our struggles when handling the ball,” McQuade said. “I think our girls are confident in their ability to run the offense and it’ll be a key for us to raise the confidence of our girls to limit those turnovers.”

Darby totaled eight points in the game, while junior Alivia Henkel finished with four points.