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  • Val T.

Lady Zs score 24 in 2nd quarter, hold off Whitko to improve to 9-9

Holloway, Clevenger combine for 6 treys, 20 points


Sports Editor, RTC

What happened for the Rochester girls basketball team in the second quarter against

Rily Holloway

visiting Whitko stayed in the second quarter at the RHS gym Saturday.

It was not to be repeated, but as it turned out, it did not have to be.

Rily Holloway scored all 11 of her points in the second quarter, and Rylee Clevenger added nine as the Lady Zs earned a 36-27 win.

Ella McCarter added eight for Rochester, who improved to 9-9 overall and 4-2 in the Three Rivers Conference.

“We’re to nine wins,” Rochester coach Joel Burrus said. “These girls have set themselves up for a winning season if we can finish the deal here.”

Kloe Krieg led Whitko with nine points, and Gwen Howard scored eight.

Whitko fell to 6-8, 0-5 as they lost their 33rd consecutive conference game. They have not beaten Rochester since Jan. 7, 2017, and they have not won a conference game since beating Wabash on Jan. 25, 2019.

Rochester won despite not recording a field goal in the first or fourth quarters, but in the second quarter, they had eight field goals – six of them three 3-pointers – and scored 24 points in a 5:32 span to turn a 6-2 deficit after one quarter into a 26-12 lead. They led by 12 at the half and built the lead to as big as 16 in the third quarter.

The 24-point quarter was their largest of the season.

Whitko did not get the deficit in single digits until a Krieg 3-pointer in the final minute.

Rochester made just two of six free throws in the fourth quarter and just eight of 17 for the game. Burrus bemoaned the team’s free throw struggles afterwards, saying it’s been a continuing problem and that they might have to change their free throw practice routine.

“The second quarter was what won us the game,” Burrus said. “But I’m telling you guys I’m beating my head up on a wall with the free throw shooting. That should have never gotten within 10 points, but these seniors, we’re challenging them. You’ve got to make them. The other team are making them. I mean, why aren’t we making them?”

Whitko was averaging 51.5 points per game in their previous two games against Prairie Heights and Fort Wayne Wayne, but they went 10 ½ minutes without a field goal in the second half against the Lady Zs’ active 2-3 zone. Rochester forced 25 turnovers.

“They play that AAU style, up and down,” Burrus said of Whitko. “We got them slowed down. But now, we’ve got to look at how we closed out. That’s what I always look for on film. How were Clevenger and Holloway? Were they high hand on the closeouts? Because they still got some open ones.”

Whitko led 6-2 after one quarter with Krieg sinking a 25-footer for 3 at the buzzer.

Then came the 3-point barrage. Holloway hit one from the right wing, and Kallie Watson made one from a similar spot to give Rochester their first lead at 8-6.

Later, with Rochester trailing 12-11, they went on a 15-0 run to take the lead for good with Sydney Haughs often passing from the high post to find open shooters. McCarter knocked down a 3, Clevenger buried a 3, Holloway scored on a steal and a breakaway layup and then hit another 3, and McCarter hit two free throws and scored on a short banker to get the lead to 26-12.

Clevenger hit two treys in the third quarter, but those were Rochester’s only field goals for the rest of the game.

“I thought our ball movement was pretty good, and we got it in the high post, and whenever we look opposite at the open side and turn, it’s good. It has good movement, and it definitely helps with our shots.”

The JV game was canceled due to Whitko’s lack of numbers.

Rochester 36, Whitko 27

WHITKO (27) (6-8, 0-5)

Kloe Krieg 3 0-0 9, Braisha Harrison 2 0-0 5, Adryianna Phillips 1 2-2 5, Nadia Rhoades 0 0-0 0, Gwen Howard 3 2-2 8, Brookelynn Coburn 0 0-0 0, Kirsten Schipper 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 9 4-4 27

ROCHESTER (36) (9-9, 4-2)

Rily Holloway 4 0-0 11, Rylee Clevenger 3 0-0 9, Kallie Watson 1 1-4 4, Emma Howdeshell 0 2-5 2, Sydney Haughs 0 2-4 2, Ella McCarter 2 3-4 8

TEAM: 10 8-17 36

Three-point field goals:

Whitko 5 (Krieg 3, Harrison, Phillips),

Rochester 8 (Holloway 3, Clevenger 3, McCarter, Watson)

Total fouls: Whitko 17, Rochester 7

Turnovers: Whitko 25, Rochester 17

Score by quarters

Whitko 6 8 4 9 – 27

Rochester 2 24 8 2 – 36

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