Rochester puts on press, beats rusty North Miami to go 4-0 in TRC
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
DENVER –- The Rochester girls basketball team trailed North Miami 4-0 in the first quarter.
Then coach Brian Jennings decided on a fullcourt press, and the game was never the same.
Kaitlin Rogers scored a game-high 13 points, and Emily Hughes had 12 for the visiting Lady Zs in a 55-27 win over the Lady Warriors.
Rochester had a 13-0 run in the first quarter after putting on the press and another 12-0 run in building a 30-10 lead.
They led 35-17 at halftime. North Miami would get within 40-24 in the third quarter on an Allison Bowman 3-pointer and an Ellie Musselman post banker, but Kim Batten would hit a short jumper to end the run, and Millie Scorsone scored on a pair of putbacks, and Kennedy Jackson scored on a coast to coast drive after grabbing a rebound to get the lead back to 22.
Bowman and Musselman scored eight points each for North Miami. Molly Freeman had seven points. Taylor Tinney, the team’s only senior starter and most experienced guard, did not play. Tinney suffered a concussion in North Miami’s loss to Winamac on Nov. 28 and has not yet received medical clearance.
Rochester improved to 6-3 overall and 4-0 in the Three Rivers Conference. North Miami, who was playing their first game in two weeks after a coronavirus-related quarantine, fell to 1-5, 0-2.
Jennings said he didn’t want to start the game in a press. Instead, he was waiting for the right time. A post bucket by Musselman and a Freeman layup meant that the time was right.
“We kind of thought at first (that) if we came out in a press, they may be ready for something like that,” Jennings said. “So we decided to sit back a little bit and see if we can get some traps on the wing. We got pulled a little bit too high a couple of times, which is what we wanted to do, and they made some nice passes and got some easy layups there, and then OK, let’s jump them and turn up the heat.
“North Miami has some young players out there, and sometimes, a couple minutes into the game, I’ve had young players forget what the game plan is and forget what the game plan is and forget what we were supposed to run on offense, and I think that press really gave them some fits.”
Hughes started the run with a backcourt steal and layup. Emma Howdeshell then fed
Hughes in the post for a bucket. A Rogers 3-pointer off a Lexy Thomas kick-out pass put RHS head for good at 7-4. A Hughes putback, a Rogers pullup 12-footer on an inbounds play and a Kennedy Jackson 12-footer in the lane got the lead to 13-4.
“I thought we all did really well when we moved the defense up,” Hughes said. “We saw they were struggling, so we just kept going at it hard, and it really helped us moving into the rest of the game.”
Asked what the team has been working on in practice, Rogers said “all defense.” It resulted in the Lady Zs allowing a season-low 27 points and forcing 26 turnovers.
“I think we did a lot better at keeping our hands up this game and letting them make mistakes instead of trying to force things,” Rogers said. “We did a lot better at that. … I’m so proud of our team. I can’t wait to see what we do in the future with the conference and sectionals and everything.”
Thomas, who led RHS with 11 rebounds, scored all seven of her points in the second quarter, including five during the 12-0 run.
North Miami had practiced three times since their last game. In two of the practices, only six players participated. With Tinney out, all five Lady Warrior starters were either freshmen or sophomores.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact of not getting in there and not playing,” North Miami coach Lori Working said. “We have been quarantined for a week. We just came back. So we’re looking at three or four weeks we’ve been out of practice this fall. Our thing is we just need to get back in the gym.”
In a JV game shortened to two quarters, RHS edged North Miami 24-22 on a Maddie Heinzmann buzzer beater. Lilly Eaton scored seven points, Elizabeth Weaver had six, Emma Sells had four, Heinzmann had four, Scorsone had two, and Kallie Watson had one.
Rochester 55, North Miami 27
ROCHESTER (55) (6-3, 4-0)
Emma Howdeshell 1 0-0 3, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Emily Hughes 5 2-4 12, Kaitlin Rogers 5 0-0 13, Lexy Thomas 3 1-4 7, Kami Burkett 0 0-0 0, Kallie Watson 0 1-2 1, Kim Batten 1 0-0 2, Mercedes Brown 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 3 2-2 9, Millie Scorsone 4 0-0 8, Kylie Coleman 0 0-2 0
TEAM: 22 6-14 55
NORTH MIAMI (27) (1-5, 0-1)
Emily Smith 0 0-0 0, Allison Bowman 3 1-2 8, Molly Freeman 3 1-1 7, Kaiden Hanley 1 0-0 2, Ellie Musselman 4 0-0 8, Joey Witmeyer 1 0-0 2, Britney Stroud 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 12 2-3 27
Three-point field goals:
Rochester 5 (Rogers 3, Jackson, Howdeshell),
North Miami 1 (Bowman)
Total fouls: Rochester 10, North Miami 18
Turnovers: Rochester 17, North Miami 22
Score by quarters
Rochester 13 22 13 7 – 55
North Miami 6 11 9 1 – 27
JV: Rochester 24, North Miami 22