- Val T.
Rochester beats Northfield, finishes regular season on 3-game winning streak
Thomas, Holloway, Scorsone all score in double figures
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WABASH — The Rochester girls basketball team found a way to get the ball to their post players, and once they did, the post players did the rest in winning a game whose impact reverberated all the way to their archrivals.
Lexy Thomas scored 13 points and seven rebounds, Rily Holloway added 12, and Millie Scorsone added 11 to lead the Lady Zs to a 46-38 win over host Northfield in the regular season finale for both schools at Kaltenmark Gymnasium Thursday.
Rochester extended their winning streak to three and ended their losing streak to Northfield at six. The win was their first over Northfield since the 2016 sectional.
The Lady Zs also finished the regular season 16-7 overall and 6-3 in the Three Rivers Conference. The win secured fourth place in the conference.
Emily Pennington and Eden Hoover had eight points each for Northfield. Addy Rosen and Elli Baker added seven each.
But Northfield post player Hannah Holmes, who tied her career high with 22 points against Whitko last Saturday, was held to just one field goal and four points.
Northfield finished the regular season 11-8, 7-2. Had Northfield won, they would have done no worse than a tie for the TRC title. With Tippecanoe Valley winning later Thursday at Manchester, Northfield had to settle for a second-place tie with Maconaquah behind the Lady Vikings.
Rochester went on a 15-0 run covering the first and second quarters, turning a 9-6 deficit into a 21-9 lead. They never trailed after that.
Rochester led by nine after three quarters, but Northfield got within 35-29 when Baker hit a left baseline floater with 4:36 left.
Northfield called timeout, but on the first possession after the timeout, Scorsone stepped out on the perimeter and found a cutting Thomas for a layup.
Then Sydney Haughs fed Scorsone for a bucket, and Scorsone found Thomas on a cut similar to the play two possessions earlier. The lead was back up to 41-29.
Rochester coach Brian Jennings credited the leadership and basketball savvy of Thomas.
“I think the biggest thing was late in that game, they were putting a lot of pressure on our guards, and we were coming out of a timeout, and Lexy Thomas called a play for her number,” Jennings explained. “And that high pressure, and she got that back-door lob twice in a row to really seal it. And was called by Lex. She said, ‘Hey, they’re playing really high in front. Let’s run this and see what we can do.’ And it’s like, at this point, you listen to your seniors, and she came through.”
Northfield first-year coach Brandon Baker praised Thomas and Scorsone for their work on both ends.
“They’ve got two huge bodies down there,” coach Baker said. “They work hard and do a good job down there. And that’s the difference. That really is. They had a good game off both of those two girls. They had a great game offensively, and both did a great job defensively.”
Thomas started the first quarter run with a bucket to make it 9-8 but missed the free throw that would have tied it.
Another Thomas bucket in the post led to another 3-point play opportunity. This time, she did convert, and Rochester led 11-9.
Lilith Eaton fed Scorsone on the block on Rochester’s first possession of the second quarter. Another Scorsone post bucket made it 15-9.
Northfield called timeout and switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone.
And on the first two possessions after the defensive switch, Holloway hit 3-pointers from an identical spot from the left wing.
Rochester led by 12. Holloway has made 18 3-pointers in her last five games.
“I don’t know,” Holloway said. “I guess it’s got to go in sometimes.”
Northfield broke out of a 6:39 scoreless drought with a Holmes free throw, and that triggered a 9-0 run. Pennington, who had made just two 3-pointers in her career prior to Thursday, hit a 22-footer to cut the deficit to 21-18.
But Kallie Watson stanched the run with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, and Northfield went six game minutes without another field goal.
A Holloway 3-pointer from the right wing, a Scorsone free throw and a Kami Burkett putback got the lead back to 30-19 in the third quarter.
Holloway’s fourth trey came after a scramble situation involving Watson and made it 35-24 in the fourth quarter.
Holloway, who transferred from Valley to Rochester after the 2020-21 school year, was indirectly helping her former team.
“You’re welcome, guys,” she said later with a smile.
Defensively, Rochester played some 2-3 zone in order to trap Northfield ballhandlers. When they played man-to-man, Holloway guarded the sharp-shooting Rosen while Thomas and Scorsone stuck to Pennington and Holmes.
“Our post defenders, when we got three or four post players like we do, and they practice against each other, even though we’re working on our offense, they figure out how to play defense, and we did a pretty good job on post players most of the year, and that just continued tonight,” Jennings said.
In a JV game limited to two quarters due to Northfield’s lack of numbers, Rochester won 22-14. Rylee Clevenger and Audrey Bolinger scored eight points to lead the Lady Zs. Savanah Eccles added three, Mia Howdeshell had two, and Darah Strasser had one.
Rochester 46, Northfield 38
ROCHESTER (46) (16-7, 6-3)
Kami Burkett 2 3-4 7, Rily Holloway 4 0-0 12, Kallie Watson 1 0-0 3, Lexy Thomas 6 1-2 13, Millie Scorsone 4 3-4 11, Audrey Bolinger 0 0-0 0, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Lilith Eaton 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 17 7-10 46
NORTHFIELD (38) (11-8, 7-2)
Addy Rosen 2 2-3 7, Ainsley Dale 1 1-2 4, Eden Hoover 2 2-2 8, Emily Pennington 3 1-4 8, Hannah Holmes 1 2-4 4, Camryn Kuhn 0 0-0 0, Elli Baker 3 1-2 7, Jaycie Kron 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 12 9-17 38
Three-point field goals:
Rochester 5 (Holloway 4, Watson),
Northfield 5 (Hoover 2, Rosen, Pennington, Dale)
Total fouls: Rochester 14, Northfield 11
Turnovers: Rochester 13, Northfield 14
Score by quarters
Rochester 11 13 8 14 – 46
Northfield 9 10 4 15 – 38
JV: Rochester 22, Northfield 14