GENOA — Junior forward Raul Aguirre knew that he and his teammates on the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team needed to bring more energy to the floor after losing five of their first seven games this season. Looking to snap a two-game losing streak against Genoa-Kingston on Wednesday, Aguirre and the Hubs returned to the hardwood with a newfound desire to win.
The 6-foot-5 forward strung together his best performance of the season, scoring 16 points while grabbing nine rebounds and blocking two shots as Rochelle defeated Genoa-Kingston 67-55 on the road. The Hubs (3-5, 1-1 Interstate 8) outrebounded the Cogs 48-31 in the win.
“We were definitely struggling at the beginning of the season,” Aguirre said. “We didn’t have a lot of energy during practice and at games, but we sat down and did some self-reflection. We brought more energy to the game on Wednesday and we picked up the tempo. My teammates definitely got me going and we were getting all sorts of steals and deflections. I was able to knock down more shots as the game went on and I did my best to get my teammates involved.”
Genoa-Kingston opened the game with a 16-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Hubs dominated the second and third quarters, outpacing the Cogs 36-19 during that stretch to gain control of the nonconference matchup. Senior Ryan Simmons turned in an all-around performance on Wednesday, scoring 17 points with seven rebounds and three steals.
“It felt really good to get back on track,” Simmons said. “It definitely felt like we played as a team and that win was very important for us. Our team passed the ball around and we moved it well so everybody was getting open shots including me. I happened to be in the right place at the right time for all of them. My coaches expect a lot out of me and they expect me to lead.”
Senior Adam Kemp nearly recorded a triple-double for the Hubs, totaling nine points, eight assists and 10 rebounds. Senior Noah Brown finished with nine points, two steals and five rebounds. Rochelle shot 45 percent from the field and outscored the Cogs 18-8 in second-chance points. Jake Oates scored 18 points to lead the Genoa-Kingston offense.