Rochester finishes in tie for 2nd in TRC
Scorsone scores 10, but Northfield wins 74-38 to wrap up conference crown
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Northfield girls basketball team has a way of pulling Rochester’s heart out.
There was the overtime loss in the game that decided the Three Rivers Conference title in 2018 in which Northfield had to make a buzzer beater at the end of regulation after an offensive rebound off a missed free throw to tie the game.
There was the 2020 game in which RHS had a chance to clinch the TRC outright, but Northfield won 56-40 and forced RHS to share the TRC with the Lady Norse and Tippecanoe Valley.
The latest chapter occurred at the RHS gym Thursday. RHS had a chance to share the TRC title with Northfield but instead took a 74-38 loss that gave the title to Northfield outright.
The Lady Zs had to settle for a tie for second place with Tippecanoe Valley, who beat Manchester 62-49 Thursday.
Kyra Kennedy scored 19 points to lead Northfield, who won their 11th straight game and improved to 16-5 overall and 9-0 in the TRC.
Emma Hoover and Kearston Stout scored 11 points each, and Addi Baker added 10.
Reserve post player Millie Scorsone led Rochester with 10.
RHS heads into their Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal against Wabash at Manchester on Tuesday at 9-8, 7-2.
Northfield beat Rochester for the sixth straight time. The Lady Zs have not beaten Northfield since the 2016 sectional.
Northfield opened the game with a 13-0 run. Hoover hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points during the opening run. Northfield had another 10-0 run in the first quarter. They led 25-6 after one quarter and 43-15 at halftime.
“Going into the game, I thought we had a decent game plan to cover their halfcourt offense,” Rochester coach Brian Jennings said. “We were more worried about them in transition, whether we turned the ball over or missed shots. We haven’t been shooting the ball really well. … But even today, even in the halfcourt, I think they hit shots maybe that they normally don’t hit. But that’s a group of five seniors that … ever since I was here, they’ve been playing varsity-level basketball. They are on a roll right now.”
Northfield has won or shared the TRC four straight years.
“They just came out aggressive,” Northfield coach Melissa Allen said of her players. “That was the game plan, and they followed everything to a ‘T.’ So you couldn’t be happier with how they played.”
Rochester had 11 turnovers in the first quarter and 32 for the game against Northfield’s long-limbed pressure that picked up Lady Z ballhandlers fullcourt. Rochester had occasional success looking for back door cuts against Northfield’s in-your-face defense, but there were also giveaways.
“We thought we could spread it out and reverse it on their halfcourt (defense), and I thought we could attack off that,” Jennings said. “Kennedy (Jackson) did a nice back door. I think the biggest thing is just their length gave us problems. Even if they did back door, it would have been a high lob pass, and they had two people sitting down at the block. Even when we broke the pressure and got the ball to the wing and were looking at the post, they had somebody in front and somebody behind. We missed the skip pass is where we were missing some things.”
Said Allen: “We had a good game plan. We knew we were going to have to help. We were going to have to front and do all that stuff. We didn’t get help side fast enough a couple times, and they got some easy layups, which we knew was going to happen and is fine, but we got it taken care of and stopped it after that.”
It was not an ideal ending to the home careers for seniors Kaitlin Rogers, Kim Batten and Mercedes Brown.
“It’s always emotional for them on senior night, and I told them in the locker room enjoy this last moment,” Jennings said. “And they were emotional. They have put a lot into this program while I was here over the last three years, and it’s tough for them to say goodbye to home court here and the home fans. But they did an excellent job tonight. They gave all their effort, and that’s all we ask for them.”
Northfield also won the JV game 48-22. Keyton Doran led the RHS JV with four points, and Emma Sells, Lilith Eaton, Madison Heinzmann, Kallie Watson, Savannah Eccles and Kylie Coleman had three points each.
While Rochester’s regular season is over, Wabash still has two more games against Whitko Friday and Maconaquah Saturday. Wabash (13-6) has won five straight games. The only team that has beaten Wabash since Rochester beat them on Dec. 12 is Northfield, who has beaten them twice.
“I think playing games is probably the more important thing right now,” Jennings said. “This is only our fourth game in the month of January. And we’re playing a little rusty. It’s hard for us to practice that much and keep that intensity in practice to still get game speed. Manchester, we came out a little sluggish, and tonight we came out a little sluggish just because it’s hard for us to get up to that game speed again. It could be an advantage for the teams that are playing a lot of games right now.”
Rochester junior forward Lexy Thomas, who suffered an apparent back injury after a hard fall against Manchester Saturday, played only sparingly against Northfield. Jennings speculated that Thomas would have played more if it had been a sectional game.
Northfield also went 9-0 in the TRC in volleyball. Kennedy, Stout, Baer and Baker start on the basketball team and are also key contributors on the volleyball team.
“The more sports you play, the better off you are,” Allen said. “I mean, you’re constantly improving everything. If you’re a one-sport athlete, you’re only working those certain muscles all year long. When you’re playing different sports, you’re working your entire body and different things all year. You’re only improving yourself.”
Northfield 74, Rochester 38
NORTHFIELD (74) (16-5, 9-0)
Emma Hoover 4 0-1 11, Kyra Kennedy 6 5-6 19, Addi Baker 3 3-4 10, Kearston Stout 4 3-3 11, Kenzie Baer 3 0-0 7, Jaycie Krom 0 0-0 0, Eden Hoover 1 0-0 3, Addy Rosen 2 1-2 7, Ainsley Dale 0 0-0 0, Jenna Krom 0 0-0 0, Hannah Holmes 2 2-4 6
TEAM: 25 14-20 74
ROCHESTER (38) (9-8, 7-2)
Emma Howdeshell 1 4-6 6, Mercedes Brown 0 0-0 0, Kim Batten 1 1-2 3, Emily Hughes 1 1-2 3, Kaitlin Rogers 2 0-0 6, Lexy Thomas 1 0-0 2, Kallie Watson 0 0-0 0, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 3 2-3 8, Millie Scorsone 5 0-1 10
TEAM: 14 8-14 38
Three-point field goals:
Northfield 10 (Emma Hoover 3, Kennedy 2, Rosen 2, Baker, Baer, Eden Hoover),
Rochester 2 (Rogers 2)
Total fouls: Northfield 14, Rochester 17
Turnovers: Northfield 10, Rochester 32
Score by quarters
Northfield 25 18 14 17 – 74
Rochester 6 9 15 8 – 38
JV: Northfield 48, Rochester 22