‘Emm’ fatale: RHS point guard overcomes ankle injury, scores 19 in win over Valley
Lady Vikes’ Wagner scores 18, but Backus injured again
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON –- Emma Howdeshell might need new ankle braces.
That was among the thoughts that the Rochester sophomore girls basketball player was thinking while she lied on the Tippecanoe Valley High School gym court in pain with 1:05 left in the third quarter Saturday.
That was not going to keep her from coming back on the court and impacting the game as she did in the first three quarters.
Howdeshell scored a game-high 19 points, and fellow sophomore Millie Scorsone added 12
to lead the Lady Zs to a 50-44 win over the host Lady Vikings Saturday night.
Howdeshell said she didn’t see herself having to score 19 points in order for the team to win. She had scored 24 points total in Rochester’s six previous conference games.
“I was really looking to pass the ball down to the post and penetrate and pass out to the shooters,” Howdeshell said. “But it felt pretty good to knock some 3s down, I’m not going to lie.”
Lexy Thomas added nine points and six rebounds for RHS.
Sidney Wagner scored 16 of her team-high 18 in the second half for Valley.
But the Lady Vikings also lost senior post player Hayley Backus to another apparent right knee injury with 3:59 left. Backus initially injured the knee against Northwestern on Nov. 14 and returned to play against Whitko on Dec. 19.
Rochester improved to 9-6 overall and 7-0 in the Three Rivers Conference. Valley fell to 9-7, 3-2.
Sydney Haughs scored three points but was instrumental in holding Valley sharpshooter Kaydence Mellott to a season-low five. Mellott had scored in double figures in seven consecutive games prior to Saturday.
RHS played a box-in-one defense, but instead of focusing on Wagner, Valley’s leading scorer, the defense pinpointed Mellott. Mellott scored 14 points against RHS last year.
Kim Batten picked up Mellott when Haughs was not in the game.
“Syd did a nice job,” Rochester coach Brian Jennings said. “We put Kim Batten on her too. We just told her to be physical with her. She’s a good 3-point shooter. If she got the ball, we wanted to make her put the ball on the floor and go to the basket and try to drive on our bigs. And that was kind of the game plan. We thought about doing the same thing to Wagner, but we thought Wagner was a stronger ballhandler, and we really didn’t know if we had one person that could guard her. So we just tried to keep Emma at the top and slow her down, and if she got past Emma, she was running into some bigs. But, yeah, Syd did an excellent job and did what we asked her to do tonight, and it helped us get the W.”
In other TRC action Saturday, Northfield topped Maconaquah 59-52. Rochester and Northfield (5-0) are the only remaining unbeatens in the TRC and are due to meet at RHS in the regular season finale Jan. 28.
Manchester is 4-1 in the conference and has road games at Northfield Tuesday and Wabash Thursday before hosting Rochester next Saturday.
Rochester went on a 7-0 run in the first quarter to take a 12-7 lead and stayed ahead for the remainder. They built a 13-point lead on two different occasions in the second half.
Valley would get within 35-30 on a Wagner backcourt steal and layup, but the Lady Zs answered with a 10-2 run covering the third and fourth quarters.
Howdeshell scored on a putback, and Kaitlin Rogers, who had been held scoreless up to that point, drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Rogers said it feels “amazing” to be 7-0 in the TRC. She said the tough nonconference competition – none of RHS’ losses are to a team with a losing record – helped prepare RHS for conference games.
“I think it’s made us step up as a team and not just as individuals and realize that our shots aren’t always going to be there every game and one person’s not always going to be on, so we’ve learned how to get around that and play as a team and go quicker and outlet the ball and all that stuff,” Rogers said.
A Wagner turnaround bucket at the third quarter buzzer cut the lead to eight, but with Howdeshell back on the court not too long after being helped off the court with her ankle injury, she buried a 3 from the right corner following a Thomas putback to get the lead up to 45-32.
“I think I might have slipped a little bit, but my ankle is already weak, so that probably didn’t help,” Howdeshell said. “I think I need to get new (braces). They’re pretty old.”
Said Jennings of Howdeshell: “We’ve got players that, if they turn an ankle or anything like that in a Valley game, that just shows what that rivalry is. They’re coming back no matter what. They can lose an arm and come back in this game.”
Valley got within 50-44 after a Wagner 3-pointer with 24.9 seconds left but could get no closer.
The win was Rochester’s first road win over Valley since 2013.
Valley won the JV game 27-20 behind Molly Moriarty’s nine points. Ava Smith had five, Sidney Nelson had four, Chesnee Miller had two, Macy Petersen had two, DeLaney Siders had two, Mercedes Snapp had two, and Rily Holloway had one.
Emma Sells led the RHS JV with six. Kylie Coleman had five, Lilli Eaton had four, Kallie Watson had three, and Elizabeth Weaver had two.
Rochester junior guard Kami Burkett missed her second straight game with a knee injury. Jennings said she has a torn meniscus. Jennings said she didn’t play Burkett even though Burkett begged him for playing time.
Rochester 50, Tippecanoe Valley 44
ROCHESTER (50) (9-6, 7-0)
Emma Howdeshell 7 1-2 19, Sydney Haughs 1 0-0 3, Lexy Thomas 4 1-5 9, Kaitlin Rogers 1 2-2 5, Millie Scorsone 6 0-0 12, Kallie Watson 0 0-0 0, Kim Batten 0 0-0 0, Emily Hughes 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 1 0-1 2
TEAM: 20 4-10 50
VALLEY (44) (9-7, 3-2)
Sidney Wagner 7 3-3 18, Kaydence Mellott 1 2-3 5, Ashley Butler 2 0-1 5, Corinna Stiles 2 1-2 5, Hayley Backus 2 0-1 4, Chesnee Miller 0 0-0 0, Lily Ault 2 1-2 7, Rily Holloway 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 16 7-12 44
Three-point field goals:
Rochester 6 (Howdeshell 4, Rogers, Haughs),
Valley 5 (Ault 2, Wagner, Butler, Mellott)
Total fouls: Rochester 19, Valley 11
Turnovers: Rochester 19, Valley 9
Score by quarters
Rochester 12 10 18 10 – 50
Valley 9 7 16 12 – 44
JV: Valley 27, Rochester 20