Mac clinches TRC share, hands Rochester 4th straight loss to close regular season
Leasure scores 15, Bowers adds 13 for Zebras
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Hayden Maiben and Brayden Betzner scored 24 points each, and Josiah Ball added 15 as the Maconaquah boys basketball team handled Rochester 72-48 at the RHS gym Friday.
Shooting over their 2-3 zone or carving through their man-to-man, Maconaquah built a 27-7 lead in the second quarter.
The lead was 39-19 at halftime, and the lead never got under 19 in the second half.
The teams combined to make 21 3-pointers, including 12 by the Braves.
Maconaquah improved to 17-5 and 8-1 in the Three Rivers Conference, and they earned a share of the conference title with the win.
Elsewhere in the TRC Friday, Peru beat Wabash 75-72 in overtime to earn their own share of the conference title. Tippecanoe Valley, who needed both Peru and Maconaquah to lose Friday to claim their own share, finished third in the conference at 7-2.
Paul Leasure scored 15 points, including 12 in the second half on a mixture of 3-pointers and aggressive dribble drives, and Brock Bowers added 13 for Rochester, who finished the regular season 9-12, 4-5. The loss was their fourth straight to close out the regular season.
The bigger news might have involved junior point guard Tarick McGlothin, who left with 3:49 left in the first half and did not return with an apparent elbow injury. McGlothin was called for a blocking foul with 6:00 left in the half and took a hard fall, though it’s unclear if the injury was related to the fall.
Rochester plays Lewis Cass in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Winamac at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. McGlothin scored 19 points in last year’s sectional win over Lewis Cass.
With the objective of slowing down the game against a Maconaquah team that had scored 70 or more points in a game nine times prior to Friday, Rochester ran workmanlike possessions on offense and started in a 1-3-1 zone on defense.
But Betzner hit a 3-pointer and went coast-to-coast for a 3-point play within the first 100 seconds.
Brock Bowers hit a 3-pointer from the right corner, but Ball immediately sliced through and scored off the glass from the right wing, and Maiben scored on a transition layup.
McGlothin scored on a driving banker, but Maconaquah immediately advanced the ball upcourt, and Maiben banked in a 12-footer.
Another Maiben 3 made it 15-5 after one quarter. Maiben and Betzner each hit triples on consecutive possessions in the second quarter, and Ball scored on a driving layup to complete the 17-2 run.
“In the first half, they were 16 for 20 from the floor,” Rochester coach Rob Malchow said. “That’s hard to do without being defended, just going out and shooting. And so (they have) really good shooters. We knew they did.
“When we came out in the first half, we wanted to be really patient. It wasn’t their defense that was stopping us. We were trying to take about a minute off the clock before we looked for our shot because we knew that their ability to put the ball in the hole was at a high level.”
An inability to get back in transition defense meant that the Zebras would have to scrap the initial game plan of taking time off the clock.
“That forced us to go to our next plan and play differently than we wanted to,” Malchow said. “And man-to-man, they are good athletes, and they’re crafty, and they’ve got passes, and they would set up… for an open 3.”
Maconaquah coach Tim Maiben was asked about his offense’s ability to adjust to Rochester going from a zone to man-to-man.
“I feel like our team is getting better at that,” coach Maiben said. “There have been times this season I felt like once or twice, where like, guys, one, you know, and, two, you communicate it to everybody else. They’re pretty solid at identifying that.”
Maconaquah also won the JV game 49-38.
Bryce Baugher, Owen Prater and Hunter Campbell had seven points each, and Gavin Young had six for Rochester. Dylan Hook had four, Drew Bowers and Robert Bozzo had three each, and Thatcher Sampsel had one.
Rochester’s Evan Elliott started and scored two points in his final home game. He is the team’s lone senior.
“Evan’s just been fantastic for four years,” Malchow said. “He’s played C-team, JV, and then last year, I think he would have helped the varsity a little bit, but he got into that COVID situation, and he missed like the first 15 practices, and it was hard for him to get caught up, but this season coming in, he’s been a real good leader for us in the locker room and in practices.”
Malchow said junior forward Aidan Smith has not progressed in his recovery from “concussion-like symptoms.” Smith has not played in a game since Jan. 18 against Caston.
The game seemingly flipped the stakes of last year’s game at Maconaquah between the teams on its head. Going into that game, Rochester had already clinched the outright TRC title, but they won 58-44 to complete their first undefeated conference season since 1975. This time, the Zebras were trying to play spoiler.
Maconaquah 72, Rochester 48
MACONAQUAH (72) (17-5, 8-1)
Bauer Maple 2 0-0 6, Brayden Betzner 9 1-2 24, Hayden Maiben 10 1-1 24, Trace Armstrong 0 0-0 0, Josiah Ball 7 0-1 15, Zach Sparks 0 0-0 0, Brennan Bailey 0 0-0 0, Jackson Collins 1 0-0 3, Mason Barnes 0 0-0 0, Haiden Thompson 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 29 2-4 72
ROCHESTER (48) (9-12, 4-5)
Tarick McGlothin 1 0-0 2, Paul Leasure 6 1-1 15, Tanner Reinartz 2 0-0 6, Evan Elliott 0 2-2 2, Luke Hunting 1 0-0 2, Brock Bowers 5 0-0 13, Owen Prater 1 0-0 2, Aaron Huffman 0 0-0 0, Dylan Hook 0 0-0 0, Robert Bozzo 1 0-0 3, Ethan Medina 1 0-0 3, Xavier Vance 0 0-2 0
TEAM: 18 3-5 48
Three-point field goals:
Maconaquah 12 (Betzner 5, Maiben 3, Maple 2, Ball, Collins),
Rochester 9 (Bowers 3, Leasure 2, Reinartz 2, Medina, Bozzo)
Total fouls: Maconaquah 10, Rochester 9
Turnovers: Maconaquah 8, Rochester 6
Score by quarters
Maconaquah 15 24 22 11 – 72
Rochester 5 14 18 11 – 48
JV: Maconaquah 49, Rochester 38