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  • Val T.

DeJay lays down the beat: Woodlan senior scores 18 in win over Rochester

Leasure leads Rochester with 18, but Malchow bemoans slow start


Sports Editor, RTC

SYRACUSE — It’s true that the Rochester boys basketball team had a look at a game-tying 3-pointer while trailing Woodlan 18-15 with under three minutes left in the first half at the Wawasee Holiday Invitational Friday.

But it’s also true that the Zebras trailed 12-0 at the outset, and they had to fight to cut the deficit to three, and it was that early deficit that nagged Rochester coach Rob Malchow following a 58-33 loss.

“I really feel the first four minutes were the big part, where we go down 12-0,” Malchow said. “Then we come back and outscore them 15-6 and had opportunities to make it 18 or 20 to 6. But when you get down as far as we got down to start these games, I’ve got to find a way to get these guys going between them personally and me helping them find it. A 12-0 deficit is a heck of a deficit.

“But I thought we fought back and got back in it, but then when you’re playing a good team like Woodlan is … when you have that kind of deficit, you get back, they put a spurt on … that shot we missed shouldn’t have mattered so much, but it mattered a lot because we got down by so much early.”

DeJay Gerig ran the floor to lead Woodlan with 18 points. Alex Miller hit three 3-pointers and had 13, Braden Smith had 12, and 6-6 sophomore big man Trey Yoder had 10.

Paul Leasure led Rochester with 18 points. Only he and Luke Hunting, who finished with seven, scored for the Zebras in the first three quarters.

Owen Prater (four points), Tanner Reinartz (three) and Bryce Baugher (one) also scored in the fourth quarter, but Woodlan also opened the fourth quarter on a 16-3 run to break open what was already a 12-point lead.

Woodlan improved to 9-2. Rochester dropped to 3-3.

Rochester used a 1-2-2 zone defense to knock the Woodlan offense out of rhythm in the second and third quarters, but by the fourth quarter, Woodlan held on to the ball to force Rochester out of the zone and back in a man-to-man.

And Gerig, running the floor in transition, outscored the entire Rochester team 12-10 in the fourth quarter.

“Once we had to come out of our zone, their athleticism and trying to contain it was hard for us, and they started to get layups again,” Malchow said. “We really stopped the bleeding when we went to the zone after the man-to-man at the beginning of the game, and that held for us for awhile, but then there comes a point when you get down by 10 or 12 in the third quarter, and you coach and you want to try something to get a spark, and when we did, they got a couple layups or a couple wide open 3s because we didn’t rotate quite fast enough in what is a gimmick defense, and it gets worse.”

Leasure came in averaging 11.4 points per game, and he had 11 in the first half to help the Zebras stay in it. He showed off a varied repertoire in the second quarter: a driving layup, a 3-point swish from the right wing and a driving finger roll in the paint as a 12-point deficit was reduced to three.

Malchow was denied in his first attempt at his 200th career win.

In the other first-round game, Wawasee routed Trinity Greenlawn 50-16. Trinity Greenlawn replaced Garrett from last year’s tournament field.

Woodlan 58, Rochester 33

WOODLAN (58) (9-2)

Alex Miller 5 0-2 13, Drew Fleek 2 0-0 5, DeJay Gerig 9 0-0 18, Braden Smith 4 2-2 12, Trey Yoder 4 2-4 10, Lincoln Sparks 0 0-0 0, Ethan Klepper 0 0-0 0, Luke Meyer 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 24 4-8 58

ROCHESTER (33) (3-3)

Owen Prater 2 0-1 4, Paul Leasure 8 0-0 18, Brock Bowers 0 0-0 0, Tanner Reinartz 1 0-0 3, Luke Hunting 2 2-2 7, Ethan Medina 0 0-0 0, Bryce Baugher 0 1-2 1, Aidan Smith 0 0-0 0, Xavier Vance 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 13 3-5 33

Three-point field goals:

Woodlan 6 (Miller 3, B. Smith 2, Fleek),

Rochester 4 (Leasure 2, Reinartz, Hunting)

Total fouls: Woodlan 10, Rochester 8

Turnovers: Woodlan 15, Rochester 11

Score by quarters

Woodlan 12 10 13 23 – 58

Rochester 6 9 8 10 – 33

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