ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team started three seniors to open Tuesday’s season debut against Rockford Guilford. But it was sophomore guard Alivia Henkel who provided the spark for the Lady Hubs, scoring a team-high 15 points in her first varsity game as Rochelle fell 67-38 against the Vikings.
The Lady Hubs (0-1) will begin their five-game stretch at the Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament with a Thursday matchup against Eastland.
“Alivia’s always going to give 100-percent effort, regardless if we’re winning by 30 or losing by 30,” head coach Ryan McQuade said. “That’s her mind set and she really loves the game.”
Guilford broke off a 9-0 run at the start of the first quarter, forcing a quick Rochelle timeout. The Vikings rallied behind senior guard Kiara Brandon and junior forward Lindsey Knuth, who combined for 26 points on Tuesday. The Lady Hubs trailed 22-4 after the first quarter, with seniors Zoey Tabor and Adriannah Davis-Carter making the team’s only two baskets.
“We played a very good basketball team tonight,” McQuade said. “That’s a team that’s going to win a lot more games than they lose. We just have to take baby steps as we move forward and we have to look at the positives. I think we’ll learn more in our losses than our wins and that’s something we’re going to hone in on as we get ready for the Forreston tournament.”
Despite Guilford extending its lead in the second quarter, Henkel did her best to keep Rochelle hanging tough, scoring on offensive rebounds and forcing turnovers on defense to allow the Lady Hubs to push the ball in transition. Senior Josie Lundquist swished the team’s first 3-pointer of the night before the halftime buzzer, with Rochelle trailing 43-16 at the half.
Lundquist entered attack mode for the Lady Hubs in the third quarter, scoring six of her nine points while Henkel added six points to help Rochelle keep pace with the Vikings. With the Lady Hubs down 57-29 entering the fourth quarter, junior Torrin Nantz found some offensive rhythm, sinking two baskets to end the evening with five points in her first career varsity game.
“We talked with Josie at the half about attacking more,” McQuade said. “We didn’t get much going offensively in the first half as a team, but I thought Josie was attacking the rim more during the second half and that’s when I thought she really started to play well for us.”
The Rochelle Lady Hub JV basketball team scored a win in its season opener on Tuesday, defeating Rockford Guilford 32-23 to start the season with a 1-0 record. Freshman Abby Metzger led the offense with nine points, while freshman Kendyl Darby grabbed a team-leading 10 rebounds. Rochelle will begin the Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament on Thursday.
“It was a great way to start the season,” head coach Katie Roush said. “The girls worked together well and every single girl contributed to this win. They’re becoming amazing athletes and they’re learning to play the game at a faster pace.”