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  • Val T.

Rogers’ treys, second-quarter run help Rochester eliminate Wabash

Class 2A, Sectional 37 semifinal: Delphi vs. Rochester, 8 p.m. Friday at Manchester


Sports Editor, RTC

NORTH MANCHESTER –- Emma Howdeshell, who stands 5-3, might not be known for putbacks, and Kallie Watson might not be known for her 3-point shooting prowess, but in sectional games, but nobody ever said that just a normal effort wins sectional basketball games.

But it was sophomore guards Howdeshell and Watson who sparked an 11-1 run that closed out the first half, and Kaitlin Rogers who made three 3-pointers in the second half to lead the Rochester girls basketball team to a 46-40 win over Wabash in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Manchester High School Tuesday.

The Lady Zs improved to 10-8 and earned a semifinal date against Delphi at 8 p.m. Friday.

Howdeshell scored nine of her game-high 13 points in the second quarter. Rogers scored all 12 of her points on 3s.

Seniors Mariah Wyatt and Nicole Gunderman had 10 points each to lead Wabash, who finished 15-7. Wabash came into the game on a seven-game winning streak, their longest in six years.

Wabash had been averaging 50 points per game during their winning streak, but RHS’ zone defense limited paint touches for top scorers Wyatt and Alivia Short.

Short, who came in averaging 12 points per game, was held to four.

Offensively, Rochester coach Brian Jennings said that rebounding, specifically limiting putback baskets for Wyatt and Short, was key.

Jennings also liked how his team approached Wabash’s 2-3 zone. They made seven 3-pointers but also got inside touches for players like Emily Hughes, Lexy Thomas and Millie Scorsone.

“I thought we were really patient on our offense, which is what I wanted us to do,” Jennings said. “We needed to attack a little bit more off the dribble. I think we came off the ball screen a little bit and were a little passive tonight. But we reversed it well. We got the ball inside when we wanted to. I would have liked to have gotten it in there a little bit more. Kaitlin steps up when they start packing it in and knocks down some big 3s when that was we needed to do.

“So it was an overall good team win for us tonight.”

RHS led 26-16 at halftime and extended the lead as big as 37-23 in the third quarter when Rogers drained a triple to beat the Wabash press.

The Lady Apaches scored the next six points and would get as close as 45-40 on a Wyatt putback with 10.2 seconds left. Howdeshell completed the scoring with a free throw with 7.9 seconds left.

But it was the run at the end of the second quarter that turned a 15-15 tie into a 10-point RHS lead. Howdeshell won a scramble for a loose rebound and put it back to start the scoring.

Kennedy Jackson then fed Emily Hughes for a layup.

RHS then went to a fullcourt press, and Watson poured in her first 3-pointer of the season to push the lead to seven.

Jennings called Watson a “defensive gnat” afterwards.

“I thought the press was probably the best we’ve played the press all year long,” Jennings said. “We worked on it some this week and played some different personnel in it that I think really made a difference.”

Isabelle Davis missed the front end of a one-and-one for Wabash, and Howdeshell hit two at the line with 35.4 seconds left to make it 24-15.

Wyatt split a pair from the line with 26.7 seconds left before Howdeshell closed out the half with a runner in the paint with two seconds left.

“I thought the foul trouble in the second quarter killed us,” Wabash coach Matt Stone said. “Because it let them go on that run, and we had five people with two fouls or whatever it was, and I thought that hurt us. It took us out of our mojo, right? And then it was hard to recover from. It was hard to recover being down 10. I thought that was a big part of the game.”

Rochester also got contributions from Hughes, who came off the bench to score seven points; Thomas, who had six points and seven rebounds; Scorsone, who had four points and nine rebounds; and Kennedy Jackson, who didn’t score but had five rebounds and three assists and provided ballhandling relief for Howdeshell amidst Wabash pressure.

“I didn’t use her inside as much as I would like to tonight,” Jennings said of Jackson. “I thought that Lex and Millie and Emily Hughes played an excellent game for us tonight. Part of the plan was to get Kennedy down low at some point, but I think everybody else stepped up and did a nice job, so we just kept her out at the guard position.”

Meanwhile, Stone also said that the Lady Zs making seven treys was another factor.

Wabash was playing their seventh game in two weeks. Stone said fatigue was not a factor.

“We’re not going to blame it on that,” Stone said. “It is what it is. Everyone’s dealt with this silly pandemic. … Our kids were fired up. They were ready to go. It may have hurt our legs maybe a little on the shooting, but we’re not blaming it on that. We were glad we got to play those games.”

Watch full game (Rochester vs Wabash) here:

Manchester 76, Carroll (Flora) 69

Ainsley West tied her career high with 17 points, and Eva Bazzoni scored seven of her 17 as part of a game-ending 11-0 run over the final 1:06 to lead Manchester to an upset win over No. 12 Carroll in the other Sectional 37 quarterfinal Tuesday.

Emma Garriott and Makenzy Meyer added 12 points each for the Lady Squires, who improved to 11-12 and earned a semifinal matchup with Lewis Cass at 6 p.m. Friday.

Garriott, Manchester’s senior point guard, fouled out with 1:06 and her team trailing by four.

But Bazzoni drove in for a layup, and after Carroll’s Laney Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one, Bazzoni pulled up and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 33.7 seconds left to give Manchester a 70-69 lead.

Meyer, Bazzoni and West combined to go six for six from the line in the final 17.2 seconds to seal the win.

Freshman point guard Alli Harness led Carroll with 23 points, and fellow freshman Johnson came off the bench to score 19.

Senior Megan Wagner, who scored her 1,000th career point last week, was held to four.

Carroll finished 18-5.

Watch full game (Carroll vs Manchester) here:

Rochester 46, Wabash 40

ROCHESTER (46) (10-8)

Emma Howdeshell 4 3-5 13, Kennedy Jackson 0 0-0 0, Kaitlin Rogers 4 0-0 12, Lexy Thomas 2 2-5 6, Millie Scorsone 1 2-6 4, Kallie Watson 1 1-2 4, Kim Batten 0 0-0 0, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Emily Hughes 2 3-4 7, Mercedes Brown 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 14 11-22 46

WABASH (40) (15-7)

Libby Mattern 2 0-0 5, Rylee Yoakum 2 2-2 6, Nicole Gunderman 2 4-4 10, Mariah Wyatt 3 4-6 10, Alivia Short 1 2-4 4, Madison Lutz 2 0-1 4, Isabelle Davis 0 1-3 1, Jordan Stumbo 0 0-0 0, Kierra Wilson 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 12 13-20 40

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 7 (Rogers 4, Howdeshell 2, Watson),

Wabash 3 (Gunderman 2, Mattern)

Total fouls: Rochester 18, Wabash 21

Turnovers: Rochester 22, Wabash 16

Score by quarters

Rochester 5 21 11 9 – 46

Wabash 5 11 11 13 – 40

Pictures Courtesy of Dee Brown

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