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  • Val T.

Rochester defense allows season-low 15 in win over Sieber-less Lady Cavs

Field scores 10, grabs 7 rebounds


Sports Editor, RTC

Jadyn Field

It took less than five seconds for Culver’s Elexa O’Brien to get a layup off the opening tip, and it took the remaining 31 minutes and 55 seconds for the Lady Cavaliers to find out how difficult that would be to duplicate.

The visiting Rochester girls basketball team then kept Culver out of the paint for the remainder of the game and went on for a 45-15 win at John R. Nelson Gymnasium Wednesday.

Jadyn Field led a balanced Rochester offense with 10 points, and she also pulled down seven rebounds. Ella McCarter and Aubrey Wilson added nine points each, and Mia Howdeshell had seven off the bench.

“We were really motivated just to get better as a team,” McCarter said. “This game wasn't really focused on Culver; it was more focused on us getting better at the things we struggled with on Saturday (against Winamac).”

O’Brien scored five points for Culver, who was held to six field goals for the game.

The 15 points were the fewest Rochester has allowed since Joel Burrus became the coach in 2022. The last time they allowed fewer points came in a 63-14 win over Whitko in January 2020.

Rochester beat Culver for the 12th consecutive meeting and improved to 4-5. The Lady Cavaliers dropped to 3-6.

“This was a game that we needed to propel ourself to get off the losing streak here of two,” Rochester coach Joel Burrus said. “Now we’re back to the TRC (against Southwood) on Saturday, and we’ve got to really lock in for that.”

Culver played without point guard Grace Sieber, who was out after undergoing emergency wisdom tooth removal surgery on Tuesday. Forward Amiyah Williams played through shoulder discomfort before eventually fouling out with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

That’s in addition to Kassidy Banks, who is out with a season-ending knee injury.

Also, co-coach A.J. Neace missed the game due to illness, which meant that brother Adam Neace coached the team alone with assistant Jessica McCuen.

Culver took a 4-2 lead on a Haylie Parker 15-footer from the right baseline, but Rochester went on a 20-0 run to take a 22-4 lead.

Field scored eight of Rochester’s first 11 points, including a putback, a short banker in the post and a layup as well as two free throws.

“She has been amazing,” McCarter said of Field. “Coming in as a freshman and putting up these numbers and rebounding this well is crazy good. I couldn’t do that when I was a freshman.”

A McCarter 3-pointer, a Howdeshell putback and a Wilson transition layup were also part of the first-quarter run as Rochester built a 15-4 lead.

The second quarter kicked off with a Rylee Clevenger 3-pointer, a Field putback and an Audrey Bolinger layup in transition.

They held the Lady Cavs scoreless for over nine minutes until an O-Brien 3-pointer broke the drought.

Rochester coach Joel Burrus said he knew that Sieber was not going to play but wish she had.

“I thought that honestly, with what we were prepared to do with them, I wish she did play,” Burrus said. “And these coaches … I know these guys, Neace and their assistant. They do a good job. They did a great job last year (as assistant coaches) with coach (Kyle) Evans on the boys side. So they’re trying to run what coach Evans is running. Sieber, she does a lot for them. We had hoped to see her tonight and see what we could do against her.

Rochester also forced 27 turnovers as they went to a defense that Burrus called a “high-low press” that Burrus said looks like their regular halfcourt zone defense extended to the fullcourt.

Sieber is Culver’s most experienced ballhandler.

“Joel does a great job there in the zone and plays pressure up top really well,” Adam Neace said. “We had some guys not in tonight. … Missing Grace is a big ballhandler for us. We had a lot of girls in different spots. We played three freshmen a majority of the minutes tonight. So that was different spots for them, a different situation, a different speed of the game, so I think a lot of turnovers were caused from those kind of situations. But again, credit to Rochester and what Joel does defensively.”

Neace also praised Williams’ ability to play through pain.

“Amiyah, going through what she went through, I still thought she battled tonight,” Neace said. “Again, we’ve got to keep them out of foul trouble. That’s our Achilles heel. If we can keep her and Brooke Davis out of foul trouble, I think we can be successful.”

Rochester 45, Culver 15


Aubrey Wilson 3 2-2 9, Rylee Clevenger 1 0-0 3, Ella McCarter 2 4-4 9, Jadyn Field 4 2-3 10, Audrey Bolinger 2 2-2 6, Brailyn Hunter 0 1-2 1, Mia Howdeshell 2 2-2 7

TEAM: 14 13-15 45

CULVER (15) (3-6)

Maddy Hamilton 1 0-0 3, Eliana Andrzejewski 1 0-0 2, Elexa O’Brien 2 0-0 5, Brooke Davis 0 0-2 0, Amiyah Williams 0 0-0 0, Giselle Villegas 0 0-0 0, Haylie Parker 2 0-0 4, Brianna Schlemmer 0 1-2 1

TEAM: 6 1-4 15

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 4 (Clevenger, Wilson, Howdeshell, McCarter),

Culver 2 (O’Brien, Hamilton)

Total fouls: Rochester 9, Culver 15

Fouled out: Williams (CUL), 4:46, third

Turnovers: Rochester 15, Culver 27

Score by quarters

Rochester 15 13 5 12 – 45

Culver 4 4 3 4 – 15

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