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  • Val T.

Blanked in first quarter, Rochester falls to Northfield, finishes in 4th in TRC

Clevenger, Wilson score 10, McCarter adds 9


Sports Editor, RTC

Rylee Clevenger

WABASH — Elli Baker hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as part of a game-high 17 points, and Hannah Holmes added 13 to lead the Northfield girls basketball team to a wire-to-wire 46-33 win over visiting Rochester at Kaltenmark Gym Thursday.

Rylee Clevenger and Aubrey Wilson scored 10 points each, and Ella McCarter added nine, but Rochester could not overcome a scoreless first quarter to finish 11-11 overall and 6-3 in the Three Rivers Conference.

Northfield improved to 9-12, 4-5.

Rochester will finish in sole possession of fourth place in the TRC. Northfield will finish in a tie for fifth.

Rochester did not have a winning streak or losing streak longer than two games all year. They were coming off a 31-23 win over Class 2A, No. 10 Lewis Cass 24 hours earlier.

“I thought last night would play to our advantage,” Rochester coach Joel Burrus said. “It did not. So 46 points were too much, but obviously, we had to chase them. Very frustrated.”

Clevenger hit a 3-pointer on Rochester’s first possession of the second quarter, but Rochester scored only two points in the final 7:44 of the half to fall behind 14-5 at the break.

Northfield played a “packline” man-to-man defense: Holmes, Northfield’s senior post player, did not guard another player so much as she patrolled the paint and protected the rim. Eden Hoover held Rochester freshman Jadyn Field scoreless in the post, and the taller Baker guarded Wilson as she brought the ball up the court. Senior shooting guard Jaycie Krom guarded Clevenger on the perimeter.

“They’re going to play off you,” Burrus said. “In their man, it’s very packline. It’s a packline-type man. … Basically, what they do is they shut off the elbows and the blocks, and then whoever’s on the ball is actually three to four feet off the ball. Obviously, when Clevenger picked up, they would close her out hard, but I told them, ‘You guys got to hit some of these shots for them to come out of their shell.’ But they stay tighter and tighter the more you miss. And if you’re not hitting shots, they’re going to hang in the lane, and it’s going to be tough to penetrate.”

Northfield started the second half on an 8-2 run to take a 15-point lead, but McCarter hit a 13-footer from the left baseline, Bolinger split a pair of free throws, and McCarter found Bolinger for a layup off dribble penetration to make it 22-12.

But Northfield went on another 11-0 run covering the third and fourth quarters that Baker capped with a trey that made it 33-12.

Northfield has gone 9-6 since an 0-6 start. Holmes (torn ACL), Krom (torn meniscus) and Callie Hoffman (torn ankle ligaments) are all playing despite injuries.

“You know, we just recognized that our players were a little bit bigger than theirs, so we knew that we had the inside covered,” Northfield coach Hillary Eltzroth said. “They have some shooters that just go off. And so that was our game plan. That was literally our game plan: Keep their shooters from going off. … Our girls did a great job of executing blocking down on those outside shooters.”

Clevenger, Wilson and McCarter combined to hit five 3s in the fourth quarter, and Rochester would cut the deficit to 39-29 before Baker’s second trey and two Camryn Kuhn free throws ended any hopes of a comeback.

Northfield 46, Rochester 33

ROCHESTER (33) (11-11, 6-3)

Aubrey Wilson 4 0-0 10, Rylee Clevenger 3 1-2 10, Ella McCarter 3 2-2 9, Jadyn Field 0 0-0 0, Audrey Bolinger 1 2-4 4, Brailyn Hunter 0 0-0 0, Mia Howdeshell 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 11 5-8 33

NORTHFIELD (46) (9-12, 4-5)

Elli Baker 6 3-4 17, Jaycie Krom 0 4-6 4, Camryn Kuhn 0 2-2 2, Eden Hoover 1 0-0 2, Hannah Holmes 4 5-6 13, Callie Hoffman 4 0-2 8, Faith Krom 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 15 14-20 46

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 6 (Clevenger 3, Wilson 2, McCarter),

Northfield 2 (Baker 2)

Total fouls: Rochester 15, Northfield 11

Turnovers: Rochester 12, Northfield 14

Score by quarters

Rochester 0 5 7 21 33

Northfield 6 8 14 18 46

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