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BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

WINAMAC — Paul Leasure scored a game-high 17 points, including nine in the third quarter when the Rochester boys basketball team took the lead for good, and Luke Hunting added 12 in a 52-46 win over sectional rival Winamac Friday.

Rochester beat Winamac for the fifth straight meeting and improved to 2-0. Winamac dropped to 0-3.

Rochester trailed 19-10 at one point in the second quarter but shaved the deficit to 21-18 by halftime and eventually took the lead for good at 28-26 on a Hunting 3-pointer from the left corner with 3:18 left in the third quarter.

That was part of a 20-4 Zebra run that covered the third and fourth quarters. Sophomore forward Owen Prater, making his first career start, capped the run with a short pullup in the lane with 6:43 left to make it 40-29.

Rochester went to a halfcourt trap in the second half to try and disrupt Winamac’s weave offense, a series of effective patterns designed to get Jayse Bentle and John Malchow going downhill.

“That’s why we went to the trapping halfcourt,” Rochester coach Rob Malchow said. “That took them out of the weave. Then they had to try and change their style and figure out how they were going to avoid the traps or the pressure. That was our best way to get out of the weave.”

Said Leasure: “We ran ‘blitz 2,’ and that was the game changer, just pressuring the ball. … We knew that they were a really good team at getting to the rim, but we knew if we made them pass the ball all over the place and shoot long shots, we could get them defensively.”

Winamac would get back within 40-34 on a John Malchow leaner in the lane with 4:56, but he missed a free throw that would have made it a 3-point play, and when Leasure kicked out to Tanner Reinartz for a 3-pointer from just off the left corner on the ensuing possession, the lead was back to nine, and Winamac only got the deficit back to six on a Jayse Bentle 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Bentle led Winamac with 13 points, and John Malchow added 11. John Malchow is the nephew of Rochester coach Rob Malchow and the cousin of Rochester junior Luke Malchow.

“I think it was the last two minutes of the second quarter actually where I think it happened,” Winamac first-year coach Cameron Bennington said when asked when the turning point was. “We had a seven-to-nine-point lead for most of the second quarter it felt like, and I think we did some things that weren’t in the game plan. We got away from it, and we relaxed a little bit. Credit to Rochester. They took advantage of that and got it back to a three-point game. Then they turned up the pressure a little bit coming out of the gate in the third quarter, and we struggled to handle it, and we dug ourselves a hole.”

Bentle and John Malchow were attacking the rim downhill off a series of weave patterns in the first half, and a Bentle 3-pointer from the top of the key and a transition layup off a Malchow assist made it 11-4 in the first quarter.

A Leasure driving leaner in the lane, a Brock Bowers bucket at the first-quarter buzzer and a driving layup from Hunting made it 11-10 before Winamac answered with an 8-0 run.

Evan Eaton fed DePoy with a layup, Malchow scored on a drive, Brendan Hines hit a pair of free throws, and DePoy scored again off an Evan Eaton assist to get the lead to nine with 2:18 left in the half.

Prater later broke a 5:36 scoreless drought with two free throws with 2:09 left.

Rochester cut the lead to 21-18 by halftime thanks to a Hunting 3-pointer with three seconds left in the half.

Leasure, held scoreless in the second quarter, looked to maneuver off the dribble in the third quarter, where he outscored the entire Winamac team 9-8. Leasure is averaging 14 points per game even though he has not made a 3-pointer.

“As long as we’re winning, that’s all I care about,” Leasure said of the lack of treys.

Bennington complimented Leasure afterwards.

“He’s a really good player,” Bennington said. “In the second half, he got going. I’ll have to go back and look at it on tape, but I think we actually did a pretty good job guarding him tonight. Our game plan was that we were going to guard him one-on-one and that we were going to just trying to contain him and make him make tough shots, and he did that in the second half.”

Rochester also won the JV game 51-43. Grant Clark led Rochester with 16 points, Carson Paulik added 12, Drew Bowers and Jonas Kiser had seven each, Bryce Baugher had five, and Davis Renie and Luke Malchow had two each.

Ethan Burgess and Carter Keller had 12 points apiece to lead Winamac. Maddox Bucinski and Alex Hague added eight each. Will Malchow had two, and Hunter Ross had one.

Rochester 52, Winamac 46

ROCHESTER (52) (2-0)

Paul Leasure 6 5-7 17, Owen Prater 2 3-4 7, Tanner Reinartz 3 0-0 7, Luke Hunting 4 2-2 12, Xavier Vance 1 1-2 3, Drew Bowers 0 0-0 0, Brock Bowers 2 2-2 6, Ethan Medina 0 0-0 0, Luke Malchow 0 0-0 0, Bryce Baugher 0 0-0 0, Davis Renie 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 18 13-17 52

WINAMAC (46) (0-3)

Brendan Hines 1 2-2 4, Michael Loehmer 3 2-3 8, Jayse Bentle 5 1-2 13, John Malchow 5 0-3 11, Sawyer DePoy 3 1-2 7, Evan Eaton 1 1-1 3, Gavin Taylor 0 0-0 0, Justin Potthoff 0 0-0 0, Aiden Schooler 0 0-0 0, Maddox Bucinski 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 18 7-13 46

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 3 (Hunting 2, Reinartz),

Winamac 3 (Bentle 2, J. Malchow)

Total fouls: Rochester 17, Winamac 17

Turnovers: Rochester 11, Winamac 13

Score by quarters

Rochester 8 10 18 16 – 52

Winamac 11 10 8 17 – 46

JV: Rochester 51, Winamac 43


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