RHS attacks Mac inside, stays unbeaten in TRC
Scorsone, Rogers, Hughes all score in double figures as Lady Zs avenge 2018, 2019 losses
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Millie gets buckets.
That’s the nickname that Rochester girls basketball coach Brian Jennings has for sophomore post player Millie Scorsone.
It was Scorsone who produced down low and lived up to her nickname in helping lead the Lady Zs to a 53-36 win over Maconaquah at the RHS gym Tuesday.
Scorsone and Kaitlin Rogers scored 12 points each to lead RHS. Emily Hughes made all six of her free throws and added 11.
Lexy Thomas contributed eight points and eight rebounds.
RHS improved to 7-4 overall and 5-0 in the Three Rivers Conference.
Lilly Maple scored a game-high 14 points for Maconaquah, who fell to 3-4, 0-1. The Lady Braves committed 30 turnovers and RHS committed 26 in a hectic game that often featured both teams in a fullcourt press.
Madison Wilson, who hit seven 3-pointers and scored 22 points in Maconaquah’s win over RHS last year, was held to one trey and three points this time.
Maconaquah’s only lead was 1-0 in the first quarter. Maconaquah got within 35-31 on a long Maple 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, but RHS outscored the Lady Braves 18-5 over the final six minutes to secure the win.
Scorsone had a bucket in transition, Rogers hit a 3-pointer, and Emma Howdeshell hit a free throw to start the final push and get the lead to 10.
Maple left with a gash over her eye with 4:07 left and Maconaquah down 41-33. Maple returned with 2:46 left, but by then, Hughes hit two free throws, Kallie Watson scored on a driving banker and Hughes scored again on a layup off a Thomas assist.
Scorsone also scored eight of RHS’ 14 points in the third quarter, propping up the RHS offense after Maconaquah got as close as 22-21. Scorsone said RHS changed offenses in their one practice after their Dec. 19 loss to Lafayette Central Catholic. She also said RHS worked a lot on their press break after facing guard-oriented LCC.
“We started working on a new offense, which was the flex that we did,” Scorsone said. “We started a new high twist series. So we worked on that in practice.”
Meanwhile, the RHS defense continues to play better in conference games than nonconference games. Opponents score 49 points per game on RHS, but that number is reduced to 37 when RHS faces a TRC opponent.
“We really do work a lot on defense, and that’s what he expects us to do,” Scorsone said. “We have so many big people … that can just stop people in the lane.”
Though Wilson had the hot hand against RHS last year, she wasn’t necessarily the focal point of the RHS defense.
“I think it was more just general defense, not really focusing on one player,” junior guard Kami Burkett said. “We knew Maple was going to drive more, and so we were prepared for that. But other than that, it was just general defense.”
Both teams pressured each other’s ballhandlers at many points on the floor. But RHS also had success with its 2-3 zone when it became more of a halfcourt game.
“The whole game was a ballhandling struggle,” Jennings said. “Maple’s a really good point guard for them, but what we noticed was if we put some pressure on her, she tends to throw passes high. So we concentrated on our big three in the back row and concentrated on getting our hands up and anticipating that pass and getting into passing lanes. And then, once they did get it into the halfcourt, we really just tried to pack it in.”
Maconaquah first-year coach Terry West noted the size disparity inside.
“I think most of it was just our unforced errors,” West said. “We just didn’t do a good job of handling the basketball and making good passes. Credit Rochester though. They played a really good game. Obviously, their strength is inside, and we’re more of a finesse team. And we have a difficult time sometimes handling big, strong, physical inside play.”
Offensively, Jennings wanted to use a flex offense to create more opportunities for post players. He said the ball had been getting “stuck” on offense in recent games.
“We really think that teams are starting to trap our ball screen offense a little better, so just to mix it up, we pulled out the flex tonight,” Jennings said. “And it seemed to be working pretty well. We got some open cutters. Obviously, I don’t think they saw it coming. But they made some good adjustments to it, and then we went to our higher offense and worked off that in the second half.”
Hughes outscored the entire Maconaquah team 5-4 in the first quarter as RHS claimed an early nine-point lead. Maconaquah got within 13-11 in the second quarter on a Maple trey, but a Rogers trey, a Thomas putback and two Hughes free throws got the lead back to 20-13 at halftime.
The JV game was canceled.
Alexandra Merritt, who scored a team-high 11 points for Maconaquah in a loss to Western in their previous game, was held scoreless. Former Caston player Brianna Hubenthal had eight.
The Twin Lakes Invitational, at which Rochester was scheduled to compete Tuesday and Wednesday, was canceled Saturday morning. RHS immediately moved to schedule games against North White Tuesday and Pioneer Wednesday. RHS will host North White at 6 p.m./7:30 p.m. (JV/Varsity) Tuesday and travel to Pioneer at 6 p.m./7:30 p.m. (JV/Varsity) Wednesday.
North White is 8-1 and ranked No. 9 in Class 1A. Pioneer is 5-3 and ranked No. 6 in Class 1A. Pioneer was the Class 1A state runner-up last year. Like Rochester, North White and Pioneer were also scheduled to compete at Twin Lakes.
Rochester will travel to Warsaw for the Lady Tiger Classic at 10 a.m. Jan. 2. Rochester will play Warsaw at 10 a.m., and North Judson will meet Chesterton at approximately 11:30 a.m. The consolation game will start at 6 p.m., and the varsity game will start at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Rochester 53, Maconaquah 36
MACONAQUAH (36) (3-4, 0-1)
Brianna Hubenthal 4 0-0 8, Lilly Maple 5 2-4 14, Madison Wilson 1 0-0 3, Alex Merritt 0 0-1 0, Monica Moore 3 1-2 7, Hallie Maiben 0 0-1 0, Sydney Barnes 0 0-0 0, Miranda Stoll 0 2-4 2, Delaney Truax 1 0-0 2, Lauryn Merritt 0 0-2 0
TEAM: 14 5-14 36
ROCHESTER (53) (7-4, 5-0)
Emma Howdeshell 0 1-4 1, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Lexy Thomas 3 2-5 8, Kaitlin Rogers 3 4-4 12, Emily Hughes 2 6-6 11, Kami Burkett 1 1-2 3, Kallie Watson 1 0-1 2, Kim Batten 0 0-0 0, Mercedes Brown 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 1 2-4 4, Millie Scorsone 6 0-0 12
TEAM: 17 16-26 53
Three-point field goals:
Maconaquah 3 (Maple 2, Wilson),
Rochester 3 (Rogers 2, Hughes)
Total fouls: Maconaquah 20, Rochester 16
Turnovers: Maconaquah 30, Rochester 26
Score by quarters
Maconaquah 4 9 13 10 – 36
Rochester 13 7 14 19 – 53