Boys Basketball: Hubs cruise over short-handed Sandwich

Alley-oop dunk highlights 80-50 victory over Indians


ROCHELLE — An alley-off dunk off the backboard highlighted a stellar offensive performance from the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team against the Sandwich Indians on Wednesday.

With Sandwich limited to only seven players, Rochelle took advantage of a short-handed Indians rotation, building an early lead in a first quarter that featured an off-the-backboard pass from senior Noah Brown to fellow senior Tanner Lager, who jammed the ball with two hands to ignite the crowd and the Rochelle sideline. Eleven different players scored points for the Hubs, who dominated the first quarter 29-6 and cruised to an 80-50 win over Sandwich.

“It was a really exciting moment to dunk that ball,” Lager said. “Dunking the ball during a high school basketball game is something you always dream about and being able to bring that energy to the court really helped us a lot early in the game. It was nice to see our reserves get some minutes tonight because they always push us to get better and it’s good for the team.”

Eight Rochelle players scored in the first quarter including senior forward Zach Sanford, who finished with five points in his first home game since recovering from an ACL injury over the summer. Senior Ryan Simmons led the Hubs with 20 points on Wednesday, nailing three 3-pointers in the first half to fuel an offense that converted 19 first-half field goals.

“We have to be able to score and play good defense,” Lager said. “I feel like our shooting has improved over our last few games and we have to build on that. I think we can always improve on defense as well. It’s a big confidence booster for us to win this game tonight. Even though Sandwich has struggled this year, it helps that everyone was able to knock down shots tonight.”

Rochelle (7-8, 4-1 Interstate 8) maintained a 49-20 lead at halftime over the Indians, who struggled to prevent the Hubs from cutting inside and finding scoring space around the baseline. Senior Adam Kemp scored all nine of his points in the first half, hitting one 3-pointer as well as a pair of baseline floaters and a tough one-handed layup at the rim. Lager also made all four of his field goals in the first half, with his alley-oop slam from Brown capping off an eight-point performance.

Rochelle continued to push the tempo in the third quarter, where sophomore Eli Luxton swished the first of his two 3-pointers in the game and drove for two layups to score eight of his 12 points. Brown added a deep triple from the right elbow to ice a seven-point night and junior David Gerber rolled in two layups for four of his five points off the bench. Junior forward Raul Aguirre scored eight first-half points for the Hubs, who led 72-34 after three quarters.