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  • Val T.

Lewis Cass goes on 12-0 run in 4th, beats Rochester in sectional semis

Smith scored 15, but Zebras can’t hold 7-point second-half lead


Sports Editor, RTC

Rochester boys basketball coach Rob Malchow said he felt going into a Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal game Saturday that his team could stop Lewis Cass.

Scoring against the Kings would be another thing.

Malchow’s hunches may well have come to bear. The Zebras bottled up Lewis Cass’ 6-5 center and leading scorer Luke Chambers, who came in averaging 16 points, to just five.

But starting center Luke Hunting and starting guard-forward Brock Bowers both fouled out, and injuries to leading scorer Paul Leasure and Tanner Reinartz hindered the offense.

Lewis Cass went on a tiebreaking 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to claim a 54-43 win.

Tyson Good scored 18 points for Lewis Cass, who won their sixth straight game and improved to 17-7. They will play Wabash, a 48-15 winner over Winamac in Saturday’s first semifinal, in the final at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Rochester finished 11-10. This marked the third time in the last six years that Lewis Cass knocked the Zebras out of the sectional.

Aidan Smith led Rochester with 15 points. Bowers had eight before fouling out with 2:45 left. Sophomore Bryce Baugher had a career-high eight off the bench. Leasure hit a pair of free throws with 1:21 left but appeared limited as he wore tape on his left (non-shooting) thumb.

Malchow revealed after the game that Leasure broke the thumb in a practice earlier in the week.

Rochester led 32-25 on Baugher’s 3-point play with 48.4 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Zebras had more 3-point field goals (eight) than 2-point field goals (six). But they also had 16 turnovers, including five in the fourth quarter. Lewis Cass had 12 turnovers but none in the fourth.

“I felt like we could defend them the way we wanted to defend them, and we really did,” Malchow said. “I was concerned about how we would score enough points. At one point, it was 32-27. Then it was 37-37. So we were right there with about six minutes to go in the game.”

They might have weathered the first Lewis Cass storm, which Chambers capped with a post banker, when Bowers hit a 3-pointer off a weave handoff from Hunting that tied the game at 37 with 5:12 left.

But Haden McClain whipped a pass to an open Keaton Lewellen underneath the basket. The 6-6 Lewellen scored as Bowers fouled him and put in a free throw for a 3-point play. At the 4:13 mark, Hillis used a high ball screen from Lewellen to get into the paint, and a trailing Hunting committed his fifth foul.

Hillis knocked down two free throws to extend the lead to 42-37. Trey Johnson’s steal and transition layup and a Lewellen bucket off a a Hillis assist made it 46-37.

Johnson split a pair of free throws at the 2:45 mark, and McClain hit two free throws with 1:49 left to cap the run and make it 49-37.

The lead would reach as high as 54-41 on a Good steal and breakaway dunk in the final minute.

“To their credit, they stepped up and hit a couple shots to get it up to four to six points, and then we couldn’t come down and convert,” Malchow said. “And then it becomes where you’re going to the chase.”

The game was tied at 15 at halftime, and a 3-point shooting contest then ensued. Tanner Reinartz hit for Rochester. McClain answered for the Kings. Bowers found Smith for a deep ball. But Johnson, who had made just five treys all season coming into the game, answered with one from the top of the key to make it 21-21.

Smith continued to run the offense. He went downhill for a layup. Then he hit a 3. The Zebra lead was five.

Chambers hit a free throw with 2:59 left in the quarter for his first point. Good scored in transition.

Baugher answered with a trey from the right corner, his fourth of the season, that made it 29-24. Good split a pair of free throws to cut the margin to four.

Lewis Cass blitzed two defenders at Leasure as he crossed halfcourt. He found Smith, who came over to help out. Smith then zipped a pass to Baugher, who muscled home a layup at the goal as Lewellen fouled him.

Baugher converted the 3-point play, and the lead was up to seven.

Baugher, Prater, Vance and Reinartz form a nucleus of sophomores who might be asked to lead the team next year. They were also a big part of Saturday’s game.

“I’m proud of the way the guys played,” Malchow said. “They played hard. They competed for four quarters. Really proud of the sophomores who came in when we got in foul trouble. We missed Luke Hunting that game obviously. We missed Tanner for a quarter and a half, and those guys really in and played well, whether it was X or Bryce. I thought they stepped up and did a good job filling in and helped us stay right there.”

Lewis Cass scored the first 11 points of the game and cruised to a 65-29 win over Pioneer in their quarterfinal Tuesday, but the start of this game was unlike that.

Hunting hit a 3-pointer within the first 20 seconds, and Bowers hit a right elbow jumper to make it 5-2. Lewis Cass came back to lead 6-5 on two Good buckets, but Rochester got a layup thanks to some good fortune: On a pass from McClain at the top of the key intended for Johnson on the left wing, Bowers deflected the pass, which bounced right off official David Spencer standing near the sideline and boomeranged right back to Bowers, who then found an open Owen Prater for a transition bunny and a 7-6 lead.

A Bowers 3-pointer gave Rochester a 10-6 lead after one quarter, and a Smith 3 off a Leasure assist less than a minute into the second quarter made it 13-6.

But two Lewellen free throws, a Good 3 from the left corner and a Good crossover driving layup tied it. The 6-5 Vance finished strong off a Smith assist, but Lewellen tied it at 15 at halftime on a post layup.

Lewis Cass 54, Rochester 43

ROCHESTER (43) (11-10)

Aidan Smith 4 4-5 15, Paul Leasure 0 2-2 2, Brock Bowers 3 0-0 8, Tanner Reinartz 1 0-0 3, Luke Hunting 1 0-0 3, Ethan Medina 0 0-0 0, Davis Renie 0 0-0 0, Bryce Baugher 3 1-1 8, Owen Prater 1 0-0 2, Drew Bowers 0 0-0 0, Xavier Vance 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 14 7-8 43

LEWIS CASS (54) (17-7)

Haden McClain 2 2-2 8, Tyson Good 6 5-10 18, Trey Johnson 2 1-2 6, L.J. Hillis 1 6-6 8, Luke Chambers 1 3-4 5, Wyatt Loos 0 0-0 0, Brennan Deeter 0 0-0 0, Brody Hillis 0 0-0 0, Owen Lowe 0 0-0 0, Keaton Lewellen 3 3-3 9, Wade Tocco 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 15 20-27 54

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 8 (Smith 3, B. Bowers 2, Baugher, Hunting, Reinartz),

Lewis Cass 4 (McClain 2, Good, Johnson)

Total fouls: Rochester 21, Lewis Cass 15

Fouled out: Hunting (RHS), 4:13, fourth; B. Bowers (RHS), 2:45, fourth

Turnovers: Rochester 16, Lewis Cass 12

Score by quarters

Rochester 10 5 17 11 – 43

Lewis Cass 6 9 12 27 – 54

The Rochester boys basketball team’s season ended with a 54-43 loss to Lewis Cass in a Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal at Rochester Saturday. The team finished 11-10. Front, from left – Drew Bowers, Paul Leasure, Ethan Medina, Owen Prater; Middle – Luke Malchow, Brock Bowers, Aidan Smith; Back – Tanner Reinartz, Xavier Vance, Luke Hunting, Bryce Baugher.

Rochester Zebras vs Lewis Cass Kings in boys basketball sectional 34 action on Saturday

Photos provided by Makenna Strycker

Wabash 48, Winamac 15

Grant Ford scored a game-high 11 points, and Wabash’s smothering fullcourt press and man-to-man defense forced 20 turnovers while limiting Winamac to five field goals in notching a 48-15 win in a Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal at Rochester Saturday.

Kaden Vogel added eight points for the Apaches, who improved to 17-6. Izaak Wright had seven.

John Malchow led Winamac (9-16) with six points. He had scored 23 in their quarterfinal win over North Miami four days earlier.

Wabash held Winamac without a field goal for an 11:12 span that started in the second quarter and lasted until the first minute of the fourth quarter.

Wabash went on a 19-1 run during that time to open a 40-9 lead.

Wabash, in search of just their second sectional title since 1967, will play Lewis Cass in the sectional final at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

WABASH (48) (17-6)

Kaden Vogel 4 0-0 8, Trevor Daughtry 2 2-2 6, Grant Ford 4 0-0 11, Izaak Wright 2 2-2 7, Kolton Wilson 3 0-0 6, Antonio Grant 1 0-0 2, Logan Cantrell 0 0-0 0, Collin Price 2 0-0 4, Dave Ford 0 0-0 0, Alex Dinkins 2 0-0 4

TEAM: 20 4-4 48

WINAMAC (15) (9-16)

Brendan Hines 1 0-0 3, Michael Loehmer 0 1-2 1, John Malchow 2 2-4 6, Jayse Bentle 0 0-0 0, Sawyer DePoy 0 0-0 0, Chase Keller 1 0-0 2, Gavin Taylor 0 0-0 0, Evan Eaton 0 0-0 0, Will Malchow 1 1-2 3

TEAM: 5 4-8 15

Three-point field goals:

Wabash 4 (G. Ford 3, Wright),

Winamac 1 (Hines)

Total fouls: Wabash 10, Winamac 8

Score by quarters

Wabash 14 9 15 10 – 48

Winamac 3 5 0 7 – 15

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