BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
So, was Rochester senior guard Grant McCarter supposed to shoot a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left against North Judson and the Zebras leading by three?
Well, it went in, didn’t it?
In fact, it was going in all night for McCarter, who hit seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points to lead RHS to a 43-38 win over North Judson Friday.
No other Zebra had more than four points. McCarter scored all eight RHS points in the fourth quarter, including the 3-pointer off a Kyle Reinartz assist with 21 seconds left that made it 41-35.
Blayne Wilcox came off the bench to lead North Judson with 13 points. He outscored the entire RHS team 9-8 in the fourth quarter. Cheyenne Allen contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.
RHS improved to 2-0. North Judson fell to 1-1.
After McCarter’s 3, Wilcox was fouled with 16.3 seconds left while shooting a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to get the Blue Jays within 41-38.
RHS coach Rob Malchow called a 30-second timeout with 11.5 seconds left. Quin Stesiak worked an inbounds pass to McCarter, who was fouled by Wilcox with 9.6 seconds left.
McCarter hit both ends of the one-and-one to complete the scoring.
But as for that 3-pointer, McCarter and Malchow had no reservations about the shot afterwards, even with a three-point lead and the clock running and North Judson still having two fouls to give.
“I knew I’d seal it if I made it,” McCarter said. “I know maybe some people wouldn’t see it as a good shot, but if I’m feeling it sometimes, just ice the game and hit the 3.”
Was Malchow OK with the shot?
“Since I made it,” McCarter said with a smile. “If I had missed, it might have been a different story. I might have had some laps at practice tomorrow, but it went in, so you know, I’ll take it.”
With the way the offense was going, a McCarter trey try seemed like a high percentage shot, according to Malchow.
“Believe it or not,” Malchow said when asked if he was fine with McCarter’s shot selection. “I told the guys that, heck, we couldn’t make a layup or catch the ball down low, so we might as well hit a 3, and then he did.”
After committing only five turnovers in the first three quarters, the Zebras had four turnovers in the fourth as North Judson ratcheted up the pressure after falling behind by 10.
They went on a 7-0 run as Wilcox scored on a putback of his own miss and a lob finish on an inbounds play before a Kelson Jordan 3-pointer with 2:18 left cut the lead to 38-35.
RHS used a variety of defenses to get the lead – a 2-3 zone, a 3-2 zone, a 1-3-1 zone, a man-to-man and then something of a matchup 2-3 zone with Reinartz harassing North Judson point guard Payton Cox whenever he crossed halfcourt.
“I thought they all worked well,” Malchow said of the multiple defenses. “I knew they were able to score the ball. We mixed it up and played all of them pretty well, I thought.”
The Blue Jays had only three turnovers in the first half but six giveaways in the third quarter. That triggered the RHS fast break, and they finished the third quarter on a 13-2 run to turn a 23-22 deficit into a 35-25 lead.
Reinartz had the go-ahead bucket on a putback, and Tarick McGlothin, who was making his first career start, scored on a driving layup to make it 26-23.
Allen got behind the transition defense for a layup, which led to an RHS timeout.
But Blake Hughes grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked out to McCarter for a top-of-the-key 3 to make it 29-25.
A Hughes deflection that led to a Reinartz steal and quick outlet to Hughes for a layup got the lead to six. A McCarter right baseline 15-footer off the bounce and a McGlothin feed to Reinartz got the lead to 35-25 after three quarters.
North Judson has one senior on their roster; the Zebras have six and started four.
“We got caught there in the third and fourth quarter,” North Judson first-year coach Kent Chezem said. “We didn’t have much poise. We looked like we were a lot younger playing against an experienced team. We turned the ball over, and they extended their zone, and we didn’t handle it right. We got some things fixed right after that and really battled down the stretch and gave ourselves a chance to win the ballgame.”
McCarter hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions in the first quarter as RHS jumped out to a 12-5 lead.
Meanwhile, both North Judson’s Trey Hampton and RHS’ Quin Stesiak picked up their respective second fouls in the first quarter.
North Judson went on a 14-2 run covering the first and second quarters and assumed their biggest lead at 19-14 on a Wilcox putback and a Cox right corner triple.
But McCarter and Trent Reinholt hit 3-pointers to give RHS a 20-19 halftime lead.
“I thought it was just a gritty effort by everybody,” Malchow said. “They played extremely physical and hard. We played physical and hard. It was a grinder.”
In the JV game, North Judson pulled out a 41-33 win despite 18 points from RHS’ Brock Bowers. Hunter Campbell had five points, Dryden Vance and Colton Ferverda had four each, and Kaiden Towell had two.
Reinartz led the Zebras with 11 rebounds.
Hughes left with 4:30 left and RHS ahead 38-30 after taking an inadvertent shot to the eye. Malchow said he had a cut above the eye that will require stitches.
A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of Galen Smith. Smith, who was the RHS boys coach from 1972-80 and again from 1985-87 and who spent 32 of his 46 years in education in the Rochester schools, died Nov. 28 at the age of 84.
Rochester 43, North Judson 38
NORTH JUDSON (38) (1-1)
Payton Cox 2 1-2 6, Ty Schumacher 0 0-0 0, Trey Hampton 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Allen 5 0-0 11, Kelson Jordan 3 0-0 8, Blayne Wilcox 5 3-3 13, Owen Frasure 0 0-0 0, Aldric Harper 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 15 4-5 38
ROCHESTER (43) (2-0)
Grant McCarter 9 2-2 27, Tarick McGlothin 1 0-0 2, Quin Stesiak 1 1-1 3, Kyle Reinartz 2 0-0 4, Trenton Reinholt 1 0-0 3, Blake Hughes 1 2-2 4, Aidan Smith 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 15 5-5 43
Three-point field goals:
North Judson 4 (Jordan 2, Allen, Cox),
Rochester 8 (McCarter 7, Reinholt)
Total fouls: North Judson 13, Rochester 7
Turnovers: North Judson 11, Rochester 9
Score by quarters
North Judson 10 9 6 13 – 38
Rochester 12 8 15 8 – 43
JV: North Judson 41, Rochester 33
Rochester 43, North Judson 38
Knox 48, Tippecanoe Valley 38
Argos 41, Plymouth 38
Lakeland Christian 45, Culver 44
CASS COUNTY INVITATIONAL
Lewis Cass 62, Pioneer 27 (consolation)
Logansport 48, Caston 33 (championship)