ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team was unable to snap its cold shooting streak when the girls hosted Sandwich for an Interstate 8 contest Saturday.
Looking to end its five-game losing streak, Rochelle relied on its defense early, limiting Sandwich standouts Claire Roberts and Josie Ness to seven combined points. But the Lady Hubs couldn’t shoot their way into a rhythm, scoring only two fourth-quarter points on a buzzer-beating basket from junior Josie Lundquist as the Indians defeated Rochelle 35-22. The Lady Hubs, who fell to 2-8 overall, will face Plano on the road next Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m.
“We were a little flat in the first half and I thought that dictated a lot of our turnovers,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “We picked our energy up in the third quarter, but when we’re playing from behind, we exert so much effort into coming back that we lose energy at the end. I thought we defended well, but we have to keep finding ways to score the basketball.”
Leading 8-6 after the first quarter, Sandwich scored six consecutive points to start the second quarter. But Rochelle recovered quickly, forcing three Indian turnovers that resulted in two free throws for junior Zoey Tabor and layups for both junior Lucy Bunger and senior Sofia Lenkaitis, who led the Lady Hubs with 10 points on Saturday. Rochelle trailed Sandwich 20-14 at the half.
Sandwich forwards Ness and Claire Allen each converted close-range baskets for the Indians in the third quarter, but a corner triple from Lenkaitis and a put-back shot from senior Afi Gati kept Rochelle in the mix. Down 28-20 after three quarters, Rochelle went scoreless for nearly eight minutes as Sandwich cruised forward on a 7-0 run. Ness led the Indians with 10 points.
“We need to find different ways to score,” Rowan said. “I like the shots we’re taking and we may have taken only one or two bad shots in the game. I don’t want to pressure the kids to make shots, but that’s what we really need right now. We need to put the ball in the bucket.”