ROCHELLE — Slam dunks have become a regular occurrence during Rochelle Hub varsity basketball games over the last several games. Seniors Ryan Simmons and Tanner Lager each threw one down when the Hubs hosted an Interstate 8 matchup against Morris on Saturday.
Despite facing Plano on the road Friday evening, Rochelle showed no signs of fatigue Saturday afternoon, taking the court less than 24 hours after beating the Reapers and dominating the Redskins 67-39. The Hubs (14-9, 8-2 Interstate 8) shut Morris down in the first half, limiting the Redskins to only six second-quarter points while outrebounding Morris 52-28 for the game.
“We all locked in and we played collectively as a defense,” Lager said. “We were communicating really well and we were sitting in good defensive positions. When we can do that, we’re able to generate turnovers and force missed shots so we can run the ball down the court… When I’m able to dunk the ball, it gets my energy going quite a bit and I feel my whole game gets going.”
Senior Noah Brown led the Hubs with 16 points and four 3-pointers made, while Lager turned in an all-around performance including 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Rochelle capitalized on Morris mistakes throughout the game, outscoring the Redskins 15-2 in transition points. The Hubs shot nearly 53 percent from the field while assisting on 24 made shots.
“We just have to keep working hard during practice and we have to keep playing as a team on the court,” Lager said. “We’re passing the ball really well right now. We’re creating a lot of open shots and we’re hitting a lot of those open shots, which has been a confidence booster for us.”
Simmons nearly recorded a triple-double for the Hubs, finishing the game with nine points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Senior Adam Kemp totaled seven points, five rebounds and three assists in the victory. Rochelle closed the door on the Redskins with a strong third quarter, outpacing Morris 22-12 to take a 52-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.