LASALLE — The Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team saw its slim first-half lead vanish almost immediately during the third quarter of its Interstate 8 Conference rematch with LaSalle-Peru.
Rochelle has had trouble holding third-quarter leads this season, and the Hubs struggled to match the Cavaliers in the third quarter on Monday. Behind senior Drake Weber, who scored a game-high 33 points on 10-of-20 shooting and 12-of-25 shooting from the free-throw line, LaSalle-Peru took control in the third quarter, outscoring Rochelle 26-11 and ultimately coasting over the Hubs 73-63. Rochelle fell to 4-5 overall and 4-4 in the conference.
“Weber started getting into the lane during the second half and we started getting bogged down by foul trouble,” coach Jared Johnson said. “They kept getting to the line and they really slowed the game down on us… We need to understand that teams make adjustments before the second half and we talk about making adjustments, but we sometimes don’t anticipate those adjustments that other teams make. It’s something we have to get fixed for next year.”
While it was a tough shooting night for the Hubs, who finished under 35 percent from the field, Rochelle bounced back from a six-point first-quarter deficit, scoring 28 second-quarter points to take a 36-33 lead at the half. The Hub defense forced 16 LaSalle-Peru turnovers, which led to 16 Rochelle points in transition. Although Rochelle had eight steals in the game, the Hubs committed a staggering 21 fouls, while the disciplined Cavaliers totaled only six fouls.
“We missed a lot of open shots,” Johnson said. “We missed nearly all of our outside shots in the first quarter, which are shots we normally make, but we really got going in the second quarter. We have to be able to knock down shots, and when we’re not making those shots, we have to be able to get to the rim, which is an area we’re still struggling right now.”
Senior Garrett Burdin led Rochelle with a double-double in the loss, scoring 23 points and adding 12 rebounds. Juniors Ryan Simmons and Zach Sanford combined for 20 points and 13 rebounds in the game, while sophomore Raul Aguirre chipped in seven points off the bench. Junior Noah Brown had eight points and junior Adam Kemp totaled six assists and nine rebounds for the Hubs, who face Kaneland at home on Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m.