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  • Val T.

Burrus bemoans turnovers as Lady Zs suffer first TRC loss

McCarter scores 13, Clevenger adds 10, but Whitko beats Rochester


Sports Editor, RTC

Ella McCarter

SOUTH WHITLEY — The long faces of the Rochester girls basketball players said it all as they walked out of the locker room following their game with host Whitko Saturday.

They were no longer undefeated in the Three Rivers Conference, and they had their sloppy ballhandling to blame.

Kloe Krieg scored 13 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:15 left, Gwen Howard had 12, and freshman Jayma Stonebraker had 10 as Whitko pulled off a 46-41 win.

Ella McCarter scored 10 of her team-high 13 points in the second half for Rochester. Rylee Clevenger made two 3-pointers and scored 10.

Whitko improved to 11-3. Rochester dropped to 9-9. Both teams are 5-1 in the TRC. Lewis Cass (4-0) is the only remaining undefeated team in conference play, and they will travel to Rochester this Saturday. Whitko’s only conference loss was to Lewis Cass.

Rochester committed 23 turnovers and made just three of nine free throws. They never led in the second half.

“Ballgame,” Burrus replied when told of the turnover total. “That’s it. … Same story, different day.”

By contrast, Whitko had 17 turnovers and made 10 of 16 from the line.

“I’m disappointed with how we handled the press, but you practice the way that you play, and we had probably our worst practice in a long time (Friday) might,” Burrus said. “Just with we’re in the middle school, and it’s just a weird deal. We had to be in the middle school last night (due to Rochester hosting the girls wrestling semistate), and should that kind of stuff affect you? To me, no. But for us, it does.”

The biggest missed free throw came with 57.7 seconds left after a nifty pass from Aubrey Wilson set up Brailyn Hunter for a layup in transition after a Jadyn Field steal to get Rochester within 42-41. Hunter was fouled on the play but missed the ensuing free throw that would have tied the game.

“It drives you up a wall,” Burrus said of the free throw shooting. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Hunter fouled Krieg with 42.6 seconds left. Whitko was in the bonus, and Krieg made the first free throw but missed the second, but Howard hauled down the offensive rebound and was fouled.

Howard hit two free throws with 41.4 seconds left to make it 45-41.

Clevenger missed a 3-pointer, Whitko rebounded, and Jayma Stonebraker completed the scoring with a free throw with 2.4 seconds left.

Rochester had trailed 36-29 earlier in the fourth before McCarter scored baskets on three straight possessions to tie the game.

First, she hit a pullup in the midrange. Then she drilled a trey from the left corner. Then she hit a 15-footer from the right baseline after an inbounds pass from Field.

Rochester got another stop and had a chance for the lead, but an airmailed inbounds pass gave the ball back to the Lady Wildcats, and Krieg, the only senior on either team, got open from the right corner and drilled a trey to put Whitko back up 39-36.

Stonebraker hit a free throw, but Clevenger hit a pullup floater in the lane to make it 40-38.

A Wilson free throw made it 40-39 with 2:29 left. She missed the second free throw, but Field grabbed the offensive rebound but missed, and a Reese Stonebraker layup in transition would eventually get the lead back to three.

Rochester led 10-8 after one quarter, but Whitko started the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 17-10 lead. Baskets by Field in the post and Wilson with a steal and coast-to-coast layup would keep the Lady Zs within 24-20 at halftime, but Whitko’s lead would once again reach its eight-point apex at 31-23 on an Isabel Braconi 3-pointer in the third quarter.

“In the first half, they didn’t have to shoot 3s because we were handing them the ball,” Burrus said.

Whitko 46, Rochester 41

ROCHESTER (41) (9-9, 5-1)

Aubrey Wilson 3 1-4 8, Rylee Clevenger 4 0-0 10, Ella McCarter 5 0-0 13, Jadyn Field 1 2-4 4, Audrey Bolinger 2 0-0 4, Brailyn Hunter 1 0-1 2, Mia Howdeshell 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 16 3-9 41

WHITKO (46) (11-3, 5-1)

Kloe Krieg 3 4-6 13, Jayma Stonebraker 3 4-6 10, Reese Stonebraker 2 0-0 5, Adryianna Phillips 1 0-0 3, Gwen Howard 5 2-4 12, Isabel Braconi 1 0-0 3

TEAM: 15 10-16 46

Three-point field goals:

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

Whitko 6 (Krieg 3, R. Stonebraker, Phillips, Braconi)

Total fouls: Rochester 13, Whitko 14

Turnovers: Rochester 23, Whitko 17

Score by quarters

Rochester 10 10 9 12 41

Whitko 8 16 9 13 46

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