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Bowers scores 19, leads 5 in double figures in win over Maconaquah

Zebras take control with 18-2 run in 2nd quarter


Sports Editor, RTC

Drew Bowers

Drew Bowers scored 19 points to lead five players in double figures, and Tanner Reinartz hit a pair of 3-pointers as part of an 18-2 run in the second quarter as the Rochester boys basketball team claimed an 87-70 win over visiting Maconaquah at the RHS gym Friday.

Owen Prater had 17 points, Jonas Kiser and Reinartz had 13 points each, and Dylan Hook scored a career-high 12 off the bench for Rochester, who finished the regular season 10-11 overall and 5-4 in the Three Rivers Conference.

State leading scorer Josiah Ball had 31 for Maconaquah, who fell to 15-6, 6-3 TRC. A.J. Kelly and Ethan Zeiser had 16 each.

The Braves came in averaging a state-best 76 points per game, but it was the Zebras who had the historically significant game. They scored their most points in a game since a 94-31 win over Winamac in December 2008. Coming off an 86-45 win over Oregon-Davis Tuesday, they also scored 80 or more points in consecutive games for the first time since January 2009.

Dylan Hook Jonas Kiser

“Drew was dialed in tonight,” Rochester coach Rob Malchow said. “You know what T (Reinartz) brings every night, and what about Kiser and (Grant) Clark? Those guys are coming on like gangbusters. And for them to play the way they played, what a night for them. … It was just a great effort all the way around by everybody.”

In the other TRC game Friday, Wabash edged Peru 57-55 to finish 8-1 in conference play and share the TRC title with Manchester. Wabash and Rochester meet in a Class 2A, Sectional 36 quarterfinal at Lewis Cass at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Rochester led 44-32 at halftime and led by double digits the entire second half.

Maconaquah would cut the deficit to 68-58 on a spinning layup that led to a 3-point play from Ball with 6:39 left.

But Carson Paulik answered with a 3-point play after an offensive rebound, and a Hook steal at midcourt in the halfcourt trap led to a Kiser layup. Two Paulik free throws, a Bowers steal and transition layup and a Reinartz free throw capped the 10-2 run as the lead reached 78-60.

Rochester led by as many as 20 in the final two minutes.

Rochester had beaten just one team (Whitko) with a winning record prior to Friday.

“I think it means a lot,” Prater said. “It shows we can compete with anybody. It shows we’re going in the right direction, and we’re a young team – juniors and sophomores. Dylan had a really good game. We’re going to miss him next year, but I think it shows we’re going in the right direction.”

The Braves led 29-26 after a Zeiser 17-footer with 3:28 left in the half off the right baseline.

Rochester’s comeback started on two Grant Clark free throws to cap a possession in which he dug out a loose offensive rebound out near the foul line.

Reinartz drove along the baseline and hit Kiser in the left corner for the 3-pointer that put Rochester ahead for good at 31-29. Reinartz added a 3 from the right wing.

Zeiser connected from the left baseline, but Reinartz hit Rochester’s third 3 in as many possessions from the left wing. The lead was 37-31.

“They really shot well,” Maconaquah coach John Burrus said. “That was kind of the start of it, but they really shot well the whole game. I mean, they’d have a really hard time repeating that, but they did tonight, and that’s all that counts. They played really well, and I thought they did a good job on defense.

“When you have a run like that, they also turned us over some, and we just couldn’t hit. We had a lot of shots we would typically knock in, or a good percentage of them, but during that period of time, they just wouldn’t fall.”

Reinartz added two free throws, Hook split a pair of free throws, and Clark scored at the rim off a Bowers assist to get the lead to double digits for the first time.

Bowers stole an inbounds pass, drove to the other end and hit a pullup eight-footer off the window to cap the run and give Rochester a 44-31 lead.

“We had them on their heels,” Malchow said. “Defensively, we were coming at them so hard. The only guy that wasn’t was 25 (Ball), and Ball is just that kind of player.”

Bowers hit two treys in the third quarter, and Prater had seven points, including a lefty finish at the rim off a Hook bounce pass and a 3, as the lead expanded to 64-50 after three quarters.

“I just tried to keep everybody up this game,” Prater said. “I know I still scored more than I normally do, but I think more just trying to keep everybody up when everybody was tired.”

Reinartz drove the left baseline for a banker to make it 66-50 before Reeser made Maconaquah’s first 3-pointer with 7:25 left in the game.

Rochester committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter and trailed 19-18. But they had only eight turnovers over the final three quarters combined against Maconaquah’s vigorous fullcourt pressure.

Maconaquah put Kelly, a state 400-meter track qualifier on Bowers, but Bowers began protecting the ball better as the game progressed. Praising Bowers’ basketball instincts, Malchow called him “so knacky” and capable of getting opponents “off-balance.”

“He was just awesome,” Malchow said of Bowers. “Shooting the ball, distributing the ball, handling the ball … he wanted it bad. He played really, really well.”

Malchow was hit with his first technical foul of the season with 5:25 left in the half. The next four fouls after Malchow’s technical were called on Maconaquah.

Maconaquah won the JV game 60-47.

Rochester 87, Maconaquah 70

MACONAQUAH (70) (15-6, 6-3)

A.J. Kelly 3 10-13 16, Kaden Miller 0 0-0 0, Ethan Zeiser 7 2-4 16, Josiah Ball 10 10-15 31, Oakley Reeser 1 0-0 3, Braxton Birner 0 0-0 0, Caiden Richards 0 0-0 0, Fuddy Kile 1 2-4 4

TEAM: 22 24-36 70

ROCHESTER (87) (10-11, 5-4)

Drew Bowers 8 1-3 19, Carson Paulik 1 3-3 5, Tanner Reinartz 3 5-6 13, Owen Prater 6 3-6 17, Jonas Kiser 6 0-1 13, Dylan Hook 2 8-10 12, Robert Bozzo 1 0-0 3, Grant Clark 1 3-4 5, Jack Reffett 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 28 23-33 87

Three-point field goals:

Maconaquah 2 (Ball, Reeser),

Rochester 8 (Bowers 2, Prater 2, Reinartz 2, Bozzo, Kiser)

Total fouls: Maconaquah 27, Rochester 23

Technical foul: RHS bench, 5:25, second

Intentional foul: Bozzo (RHS), 1:16, first

Fouled out: Reeser (MAC), 6:25, fourth; Kile (MAC), 2:26, fourth; Prater (RHS), 1:38, fourth

Turnovers: Maconaquah 16, Rochester 18

Score by quarters

Maconaquah 19 13 18 20 70

Rochester 18 26 20 23 87

JV: Maconaquah 60, Rochester 47

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