Free throw woes hurt Argos in loss to Rochester
Scorsone scores 15 off bench, Clevenger hits clutch treys as Lady Zs claim Jennings Bowl
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Last year, it was Mercedes Brown.
This year, it was Rylee Clevenger.
For the second straight year, an upstart guard starred in the Jennings Bowl by hitting big 3-pointers in the second half to lead the Rochester girls basketball team to a win over Argos.
Millie Scorsone scored 15 points off the bench, and Lexy Thomas had eight points and
nine rebounds, but it was Clevenger who hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:01 left in the third quarter and another trey in the fourth quarter to lead the Lady Zs to a 36-30 win.
Rochester won their sixth straight game to improve to 8-3. Argos fell to 7-3.
The game marked the second meeting between Rochester coach Brian Jennings and Argos coach Scott Jennings. Brian now leads the sibling rivalry 2-0.
Jon and Joy Jennings, the brothers’ parents, were in attendance. Two of their brothers, Steve and Doug, were also there. So were two of Scott’s three daughters and Brian’s daughter Alexis. So was Drew Mosson, the Madison-Grant girls coach who is Scott’s son-in-law.
Matt Jennings, Doug’s son and a former Logansport High School and Grace College star, was also in attendance.
“A lot,” Brian quipped when asked how many Jenningses were in attendance. “We can’t count that high.”
Lizzy Edmonds had 12 points and six rebounds for Argos before fouling out with 29 seconds left.
The Lady Dragons made just 1 of 11 free throw attempts, including two misses from Samantha Redinger with 2:52 left and two more misses by Emma Dunlap with 1:15 left.
“You’re not going to win many big games with that, and like I told them in the locker room, that’s all between your ears,” Scott Jennings said. “We’ve got such good shooters. There’s not a player on our JV or anywhere if I put them to the line and shoot 11 free throws, they're only going to hit one. That’s just all between their ears, stepping up there, relaxing themselves and knocking them down.”
Rochester led 35-25 on an air ball putback from Thomas, but Redinger hit a short pullup and then scored on a 3-point play with 1:27 left to complete a coast-to-coast drive.
That made it 35-30.
Dunlap missed her free throws, and Rochester played keep-away while Argos still had two fouls to give.
Rochester finally got into the bonus with 27.5 seconds left, but Kami Burkett missed the front end of a one-and-one. Kennedy Jackson stole a post entry pass but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 16.9 seconds left.
But then Rily Holloway got another steal, and Kallie Watson split a pair of free throws with 5.8 seconds left to complete the scoring.
“This is the first time I’ve seen them in person,” Brian Jennings said. “I’ve seen them on film several times. Argos is a lot longer than I thought. I mean, they are big, and they are really very similar to Rochester. They’ve got some guards, and they’ve got some shooters. Very similar teams. Both teams ranked very high in defensive average.
“It was just a battle of defenses, and we just got a couple more buckets.”
Rochester held Argos scoreless over the final 7:37 of the first half and took a 15-11 lead at halftime.
Argos came back to tie the game at 17-17 with 3:00 left in the third quarter on a nifty bounce pass from Dunlap to Edmonds for a layup.
With Kallie Watson, Kami Burkett and Kennedy Jackson all with three fouls, Brian Jennings called on Clevenger, a freshman who had not played in the first half.
Her 3-pointer off a Holloway assist from the right wing gave Rochester a 20-17 lead, and a Scorsone post bucket made it 22-17.
“We had a lot of fouls … and I thought we needed another ballhandler in the game, and they were sagging off Kami so much, I just felt that Rylee could step in there,” Brian Jennings said. “They may not know she is a little bit. And if they sag off her, we know where the ball goes when Rylee Clevenger shoots the basketball. And then along with that is after she did hit a shot, she was smart enough to know, hey, they might come out on me, throw the ball inside. … Just a player probably when I called her name wasn't expecting to go in the game and just focused in that quick and did a great job.”
Said Scorsone of Clevenger: “I think she really stepped up. … She had good passes in the post. I think she’s really going to be great coming up.”
An Edmonds ball reversal pass from the lane to the weak side found Bella Stults open for a 12-footer to make it 22-19.
An exchange of putbacks by Thomas and Edmonds made it 24-21, but Watson fed Scorsone in the post as Edmonds sat in foul trouble. When Clevenger hit another 3-pointer in the possession after a Scorsone steal, Rochester led 29-21.
Edmonds found Stults for a layup, but Scorsone scored again in the post.
Scorsone said she enjoyed the bench role. Thomas scored 19 points off the bench in a win over Southwood five days ago, but it was Thomas who started and Scorsone who came off the bench this time.
Edmonds is a high-level shot blocker, but Scorsone said she had to continue to look to score in the post, sometimes cutting from weak side to strong side to get open. She complimented Edmonds as a shot blocker before philosophically noting that “everyone gets blocked.”
She also said she enjoyed the bench role.
“Starting, I feel like there’s not as much adrenaline,” Scorsone said. “Coming off the bench … I’m sitting there being able to watch the game and seeing how they’re playing, and then I can get into the game fired up.”
Edmonds hit a tough turnaround over Thomas, but a Thomas lefty finish with 2:58 left put the Lady Zs up 33-25.
“We wanted to get out on Holloway and make sure she didn’t get on fire a little bit, and trying to stop their two big girls down there, we don’t have that size to try and stop them,” Scott Jennings said. “Their size just hurt us down there.”
In the JV game, which was shortened to two quarters due to Argos’ lack of numbers, Argos prevailed 21-8 thanks to nine points from Baleigh Binkley. Aleasia Sarver had four points, and Redinger, Morgyn Barcus, Amanda Fajardo and Allison Zahm had two points each.
Lilly Watson led the Rochester JV with four points. Mia Howdeshell added three, and Clevenger had one.
Rochester 36, Argos 30
ARGOS (30) (7-3)
Samantha Redinger 2 1-3 5, Emma Dunlap 1 0-5 2, Bella Stults 3 0-2 6, Sophia Bollenbacher 0 0-0 0, Lizzy Edmonds 6 0-1 12, Allison Zahm 0 0-0 0, Carleigh Miller 2 0-0 5, Amanda Fajardo 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 14 1-11 30
ROCHESTER (36) (8-3)
Kami Burkett 0 0-1 0, Rily Holloway 2 0-0 4, Kallie Watson 0 1-2 1, Lexy Thomas 4 0-0 8, Kennedy Jackson 1 0-1 2, Rylee Clevenger 2 0-0 6, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Lilith Eaton 0 0-0 0, Millie Scorsone 6 3-5 15
TEAM: 15 4-9 36
Three-point field goals:
Argos 1 (Miller),
Rochester 2 (Clevenger 2)
Total fouls: Argos 14, Rochester 18
Fouled out: Edmonds (ARG), :29.0, fourth
Turnovers: Argos 20, Rochester 16
Score by quarters
Argos 9 2 8 11 – 30
Rochester 6 9 7 14 – 36
JV: Argos 21, Rochester 8
Watch full game here:
Argos coach Scott Jennings, left, and Rochester coach Brian Jennings converse prior to the girls basketball game between the teams at the RHS gym Thursday. The Lady Zs earned their sixth straight win 36-30. This marked the second straight year that Scott Jennings, a 1982 Argos grad, and Brian Jennings, a 1986 Argos grad, coached against each other.
Rochester’s Lexy Thomas (5) tries to score around Argos’ Lizzy Edmonds (40) during Thursday’s game at the RHS gym. Edmonds led Argos with 12 points and added six rebounds, but Thomas’ Lady Zs earned a 36-30 win. (photo provided by Dee Brown)