Rogers, FT shooting in 4th quarter help Lady Zs stay unbeaten in TRC
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Kaitlin Rogers hit four 3-pointers and made the go-ahead free throws with 2:35 left, and
the Rochester girls basketball team made 10 of 12 free throws in the final 3:51 in notching a 45-43 win over visiting Wabash at the RHS gym Saturday.
Kennedy Jackson added eight points for the Lady Zs, who improved to 5-3 overall and 3-0 in the Three Rivers Conference.
RHS is 4-1 since coming back from a two-week coronavirus-related pause to the season.
“We were just trying to survive this week,” RHS coach Brian Jennings said. “It would have been nice to get that O-D (Oregon-Davis) game this week and be on a good win streak, but we’re learning, we’re getting better, and I keep telling myself that maybe I expect too much.
“We’re playing a lot of sophomores, and that sophomore year is tough. We’re going to keep growing. We’re finding our confidence again, and we’re going to keep getting better.”
Libby Mattern scored 11, and Mariah Wyatt added 10 for Wabash (5-4, 0-2). Mattern scored all of her points in the first half, and Wyatt scored all of her points in the second half.
Wabash never led until the second half, but they led by as many as five on three different occasions in the fourth quarter. The last time was at 40-35 on two Wyatt free throws with 4:58 left.
RHS countered with a 9-0 run with all nine points coming on free throws.
Emily Hughes started the rally with two free throws with 3:51 left. Rylee Yoakum missed two free throws, and Wyatt fouled Lexy Thomas going for the rebound with 2:59 left. Thomas made two free throws to make it 40-39.
Rogers then made her free throws after another Wyatt loose ball foul.
Another Rogers free throw with 41.1 seconds left extended the lead to two. Emma Howdeshell, who hadn’t scored all night, made it 44-40 when she made two from the line with 13.7 seconds left.
Alivia Short swished a deep 3-pointer from the right wing with 6.5 seconds left, ending a Wabash scoring drought that lasted 4:52 and cutting the lead to 44-43.
Madison Lutz fouled Howdeshell with 2.7 seconds left while Howdeshell dribbled up the right sideline. She made the first free throw to make it 45-43, missed the second and then immediately pilfered Wyatt’s attempt at an outlet pass and dribbled out the clock.
Jackson was part of a bigger lineup with Howdeshell, Hughes, Rogers and Thomas. That meant that she had to play on top of the 2-3 zone. She said the team has worked on communication, its “bumps” and helping out teammates.
“Working on my defense this week was big,” Jackson said. “So I had to take the top part instead of the lower part that I’m used to. … Our defense has been one of our key goals this year, which was to get better on defense. I feel like we definitely have gotten better, and today, I felt like we did really good on defense to seal the win.”
Rochester started out in a fullcourt press and grabbed a 21-17 halftime lead. Wyatt and Short, Wabash’s two senior frontcourt players who both made first-team all-TRC last year, were both held scoreless in the first half. Mattern, who was honorable mention all-TRC last year, hit three treys to keep the deficit at four.
“Mattern had a really good first half on us,” RHS coach Brian Jennings said. “We had to pay more attention to her in the second half, and we were willing at halftime to sit there and see if she’s going to continue to make shots. I think she got some of her points in transition maybe in the first half too, and then we went through a scoring drought, and they beat us up a little bit and did what they do. It was a game like we expected.”
Jennings also praised Sydney Haughs, who made her first career start. Haughs didn’t score but helps as a ballhandler and defender. Like the Argos game two days earlier, Haughs was on the floor during the game’s crucial moments in the fourth quarter.
“Syd has been very consistent in her play on the defensive end and the offensive end, and that’s what we like, and that’s what we like and why we got her inserted in the lineup,” Jennings said. “She didn’t shoot it well tonight. You know she’s going to be nervous. But now that she’s got this under her belt, she’s going to bring us consistent (in terms of) feed the post, good shot and solid position defense, and that’s what we’re after.”
Said Jackson of Haughs: “She definitely deserves it. She’s been working her butt off and everything. She deserves her spot, and I think she really shows that she wants to be out there, and she works hard.”
Rogers scored eight of RHS’ 10 points in the third quarter – two treys and a third jumper from the right corner with her foot on the line that gave RHS a 31-25 lead.
Wabash answered with an 11-0 run covering the third and fourth quarters. Yoakum’s transition basket with five seconds left in the third quarter gave Wabash a 32-31 lead, and two Madison Lutz free throws and a Short bucket off a Wyatt assist made it 36-31 with seven minutes left.
Rochester also won the JV game 44-40 in overtime. Lilith Eaton scored six of her eight points in the overtime, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in overtime.
Kallie Watson led the RHS JV with 13 points. Kylie Coleman added seven, Emma Sells had six, and Millie Scorsone and Elizabeth Weaver had five each.
Rochester 45, Wabash 43
WABASH (43) (5-4, 0-2)
Libby Mattern 4 0-0 11, Rylee Yoakum 3 0-1 6, Nicole Gunderman 0 0-0 0, Mariah Wyatt 3 4-6 10, Alivia Short 3 0-1 7, Madison Lutz 2 3-4 7, Isabelle Davis 1 0-0 2, Jordan Stumbo 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 16 7-12 43
ROCHESTER (45) (5-3, 3-0)
Emma Howdeshell 0 3-4 3, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Lexy Thomas 2 3-6 7, Kaitlin Rogers 6 3-4 19, Emily Hughes 0 2-2 2, Kami Burkett 0 0-0 0, Mercedes Brown 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 4 0-1 8, Millie Scorsone 3 0-0 6
TEAM: 15 11-17 45
Three-point field goals:
Wabash 4 (Mattern 3, Short),
Rochester 4 (Rogers 4)
Total fouls: Wabash 15, Rochester 18
Turnovers: Wabash 14, Rochester 24
Score by quarters
Wabash 10 7 15 11 – 43
Rochester 14 7 10 14 – 45
JV: Rochester 44, Wabash 40 (OT)