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  • Val T.

Rochester 3: The Search for Brock: Trey caps rally from 14pt deficit, lifts Zebras past Manchester

Updated: Jan 29, 2022


Sports Editor, RTC

Rochester boys basketball coach Rob Malchow is not a clergyman, but he did a little blessing between his players since their game against Caston Tuesday.

Paul Leasure

He blessed his freshmen and declared them sophomores. He blessed his sophomores and declared them juniors. The juniors were now seniors. And Evan Elliott, the lone senior, was declared a graduate student.

Perhaps nobody was more consecrated than Brock Bowers.

Bowers, who had scored three varsity points all season prior to Friday, scored 11 of his career-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning 3-pointer from the left corner with nine seconds left, to give the Zebras a 74-72 win over Manchester at the RHS gym Friday.

The win capped a comeback from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. Rochester had not led at any point in the second half until Bowers’ late trey.

Manchester inbounded and then called timeout with 3.5 seconds left. After the timeout, Rochester’s Tarick McGlothin fouled Manchester freshman point guard Ethan Hendrix as Hendrix hurtled himself into McGlothin with 1.0 seconds left while attempting a halfcourt shot.

That meant that Hendrix would shoot three free throws with a chance to give Manchester the lead.

But Hendrix, who had attempted only eight free throws all season, missed the first two free throws. Manchester had no more timeouts left, so he had to miss the third on purpose.

He did miss, but the rebound was tipped out to Rochester’s Paul Leasure, who flung the ball to the ceiling as time expired and the Zebras celebrated around him at center court.

Leasure scored 31 points to lead Rochester, who improved to 5-7 overall and 2-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. McGlothin scored eight of his 14 in the fourth quarter.

Rochester had lost their previous three games by an average margin of 22 points per game.

“It was two weeks of some pretty tough experiences, and I walked around and christened them,” Malchow said. “The freshmen are now sophomores, the sophomores are juniors, the juniors are seniors, and it’s time to go. And my senior is my grad assistant playing.

“And I just said, ‘Guys, I’m going to coach the way I used to coach. And if you can’t handle it, I can’t help you. You’ve got to get on the bus because the bus is pulling out.’ And they all got on the bus.”

Gavin Betten, a 6-5 freshman center, scored 30 points to lead the Squires, who fell to 6-7, 2-2. William Rickerd added 27.

Manchester led 64-50 after two Betten free throws with 7:52 left.

Rochester answered with an 8-0 run. Bowers hit a 3-pointer and then two free throws with 6:01 left. A Leasure 3-pointer off a long skip pass from Tanner Reinartz made it 64-58.

Betten split a pair of free throws, but McGlothin hit a pullup in the lane and another midrange jumper from the left baseline to make it 65-62.

Betten hit two free throws, but Bowers buried a 3. Betten found Gavin Martin for a layup to make it 69-65. McGlothin drove through Manchester’s zone defense and banked in a runner, and when Leasure went coast-to-coast and hit an off-balance banker, the game was tied at 69 with 2:08 left.

Aaron Huffman fouled Rickerd in the backcourt, and Rickerd hit two free throws to put Manchester back on top.

A Cade Jones free throw with 57.8 seconds left gave Manchester a 72-69 lead.

A miscommunication between McGlothin and Bowers resulted in a pass out of bounds and a turnover with 42.5 seconds left.

Rochester set up a halfcourt trap. Rickerd tried to throw a pass laterally before Manchester got the ball to halfcourt, but McGlothin baited him and stole the pass and cruised in for a layup to cut the lead to one.

Malchow called his last timeout with 31.8 seconds left and left the halfcourt trap on.

Sensing Rochester pressure, Gavin Martin was called for traveling with 20.4 seconds left.

Rochester had the ball back.

“It bothered us because we turned the ball over,” Manchester coach Eli Henson said. “It shouldn’t have bothered us, but yep, that’s pretty simple. We turned the ball over.”

Leasure advanced the ball past halfcourt and fed McGlothin on the left wing. Bowers was open in the corner.

“I just felt on top of the world,” Bowers said. “I came through. And I was wide open. I said give me the ball, and I shot it.”

Rochester was coming off a 54-24 loss to Caston Tuesday in which they scored their fewest points in a game since Malchow reassumed the head coaching reins in 2017. In this game, they scored 24 points in the fourth quarter. And the 74 they scored for the game were their most since an 82-61 win over West Central on Dec. 7, 2018.

“Intensity,” Bowers answered when asked how they came back. “We got up in them, and we made tough shots.”

Malchow described the team’s change in intensity as “a 180.” He said the coaches had a meeting after the Caston game to reassess where the team was headed. Nobody personified that turnaround more than Bowers.

“Over the holidays, we felt like he was maybe going backwards a little bit,” Malchow said. “And we talked. And it was a good talk. He received it incredibly well. And I felt the two weeks when we got back after the holidays, he played really well – hard, competed in practice. And when he got knocked around, he just started and made up his mind. No more. And what you saw tonight was what I saw Wednesday and Thursday in practice, and that’s why I didn’t hesitate playing him. The same thing with Owen Prater.”

Manchester jumped out to a 9-2 lead and never trailed in the first quarter. The lead reached 20-7 on a Cade Jones runner in the lane, but Rochester would come back and take their first lead at 31-30 on Leasure’s acrobatic layup as part of a 3-point play with 3:22 left in the half.

But Manchester went on another 10-0 run in the second quarter and led 41-34 at halftime.

Leasure scored 12 points in the third quarter – two 3-point shots and two 3-point plays – but Rickerd and Betten combined for 16 in the quarter as the lead ballooned to 62-50.

Betten, a rugged, bespectacled lefty, attempted 19 free throws, and he and Rickerd helped foul Evan Elliott out with 4:27 left in the third quarter. Reinartz and Hunting finished with four fouls.

Rochester also won the JV game 46-34 thanks to Ethan Medina’s 13 points. Freshman Owen Prater, who later made his varsity debut, had 11. Bowers and Hunter Campbell had six each, Robert Bozzo had four, and Dylan Hook, Gavin Young and Thatcher Sampsel had two each.

Rochester 74, Manchester 72

MANCHESTER (72) (6-7, 2-2)

Tyler McLain 0 0-0 0, Ethan Hendrix 1 0-3 3, William Rickerd 8 7-8 27, Cade Jones 2 3-4 7, Gavin Betten 8 13-19 30, Caden Miller 0 1-2 1, Gavin Martin 2 0-0 4

TEAM: 21 24-36 72

ROCHESTER (74) (5-7, 2-2)

Tarick McGlothin 6 2-2 14, Paul Leasure 11 4-5 31, Aaron Huffman 0 0-0 0, Tanner Reinartz 2 0-0 5, Xavier Vance 1 0-0 2, Owen Prater 1 0-0 2, Brock Bowers 5 2-2 15, Luke Hunting 0 1-2 1, Evan Elliott 1 0-0 2, Robert Bozzo 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 28 9-11 74

Three-point field goals:

Manchester 6 (Rickerd 4, Betten, Hendrix),

Rochester 9 (Leasure 5, Bowers 3, Reinartz)

Total fouls: Manchester 14, Rochester 24

Fouled out: Elliott (RHS), 4:27, third; McGlothin (RHS), 1.0, fourth

Turnovers: Manchester 12, Rochester 11

Score by quarters

Manchester 23 18 21 10 – 72

Rochester 13 21 16 24 – 74

JV: Rochester 46, Manchester 34

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