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  • Val T.

Bowers scores career-high 24, but Lehner, meaner Knights beat Rochester

Leasure adds 12, but Zebras cannot overcome 16-point deficit in 4th


Sports Editor, RTC

Brock Bowers

Rochester boys basketball coach Rob Malchow enjoyed the way his team played and competed for about 12 minutes during a home game with Southwood at the RHS gym Thursday.

It was the other 20 minutes that bothered him as Southwood hung on to win 60-55.

Nathan Lehner scored a game-high 25 points, and Will Winer added 10 for Southwood, who improved to 6-9 overall and 4-3 in the Three Rivers Conference.

Prior to Thursday, Southwood had been 0-5 in games decided by five points or less.

Lehner’s effort spoiled a career-high night from Rochester senior guard-forward Brock Bowers, who scored 24, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Paul Leasure added 12.

Rochester fell to 8-6, 2-3. This was the first of four games in a nine-day span for the Zebras. Three of those four games will be conference games, including a road game at Northfield at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Southwood led by as many as 16 on three different occasions in the second half. Rochester never led.

“The third quarter and the last four minutes of the fourth quarter, we were playing the way you’d like to think we would play all the time,” Malchow said. “You can’t get down that far. And you have to be perfect in the last four minutes, and we weren’t. But we had a shot there. … I like the way we fought in the third and the last four minutes of the fourth. The other part of the game has to be fixed in terms of how we come out and we attack and we execute.

“Our offense wasn’t any different. Our press breaker wasn’t any different. Our defenses were the same. It’s just we attacked them for about eight minutes in that game total, maybe 12. There were 20 minutes they attacked us, 12 minutes we attacked them. That was the ballgame.”

Southwood led 56-40 on a Lehner 3-pointer with 5:30 left, but Rochester answered with a 15-2 run.

Aidan Smith hit a free throw, Bowers scored in transition, and Bowers scored again on a pullup banker to make it 56-45.

Malchow called timeout with 4:01 left, and Owen Prater hit a 15-footer. Leasure anticipated a Southwood outlet pass and went in for a steal and a layup to make it 56-49.

Will Winer hit a 10-foot pullup from the right baseline, but Bowers hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. After Dylan Stout missed the front end of a one-and-one for the Knights, Bowers drained another 3 from the right wing on a give-and-go play against Southwood’s halfcourt trap to make it 58-55 with 52 seconds left.

Stout got the lead back to five with two free throws with 42.5 seconds left, and Smith was called for traveling with 23.0 seconds left. It was one of Rochester’s 20 turnovers.

First-year Southwood coach Christian Perry said his team “escaped” after building the lead..

“Our pressure with our press that we were doing and our defense was leading to our offense,” Perry said. “So it wasn’t really offensive sets. It was just our transition that was getting it going for us. … I believe we got it to 16 there in the third and early in the fourth. Then we thought the game was over, the kids did, and we quit playing, and I felt like we were playing not to lose instead of to win, so we had to try to get back to being aggressive too where it got us to that lead.”

Rochester trailed 16-9 at one point in the second quarter but came back to tie it at 16 on a Tanner Reinartz triple, a Leasure 15-footer off a Smith assist and a Prater bucket in which he dribbled in from the high post and muscled home a short banker.

But Southwood answered with a 16-3 run that started with a Jason Oprisek layup, a Cole Winer 3-pointer and an Oprisek putback.

Lehner’s 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the half made it 32-19 before a Reinartz 3-point play got the deficit back down to 10 at halftime.

“I thought the second quarter was worse,” Malchow said. “Probably the last couple minutes of the first quarter and most of the second quarter … And we were not dialed in. The thing that was frustrating was the offensive rebounds they got. That’s just an indicator of them wanting it more than we wanted it.”

Rochester and Southwood have split their last 24 meetings dating back to the 1999-2000 season.

Southwood also won the JV game 48-41.

Southwood 60, Rochester 55

SOUTHWOOD (60) (6-9, 4-3)

Nathan Lehner 10 0-0 25, Will Winer 5 0-1 10, Cole Winer 2 4-6 9, Jason Oprisek 3 0-0 6, Dylan Stout 3 2-4 8, Jaret Denney 0 2-2 2

TEAM: 23 8-13 60

ROCHESTER (55) (8-6, 2-3)

Paul Leasure 4 2-2 12, Aidan Smith 0 1-2 1, Brock Bowers 10 0-0 24, Tanner Reinartz 2 1-1 6, Luke Hunting 3 0-0 6, Ethan Medina 0 0-0 0, Owen Prater 2 2-2 6, Xavier Vance 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 21 6-7 55

Three-point field goals:

Southwood 6 (Lehner 5, C. Winer),

Rochester 7 (Bowers 4, Leasure 2, Reinartz)

Total fouls: Southwood 9, Rochester 17

Turnovers: Southwood 14, Rochester 20

Score by quarters

Southwood 13 19 15 13 – 60

Rochester 9 13 16 17 – 55

JV: Southwood 48, Rochester 41

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