Watson, Lady Zs’ fast start keys win over Whitko
Scorsone scored game-high 15; Thomas adds 14 points, 9 boards
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
SOUTH WHITLEY — Rochester junior guard Kallie Watson said her goal was to get her team’s post players off to a strong start against host Whitko Saturday.
As it turned out, it was Watson herself who got off to a great beginning that helped key Rochester’s 57-42 win over the Lady Wildcats.
Millie Scorsone scored a game-high 15 points for the Lady Zs, and Watson and Lexy Thomas added 14 points each. Thomas also had a team-high nine rebounds.
Rochester beat Whitko for the fifth straight year and improved to 12-6 overall and 4-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. It also gave coach Brian Jennings his 50th career win in his 87th career game.
Kloe Krieg hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points to lead Whitko, who fell to 3-11, 0-5. Whitko has lost 24 consecutive TRC games.
Rochester scored the first 11 points of the game and never trailed. They built the lead to 20-2 at one point in the first quarter, and Whitko never got closer than eight after that.
“The biggest thing is I think we really executed a lot of things,” Jennings said. “We really worked yesterday (in practice) against their press. We really didn’t want to dribble the ball as much as we did, but Kamrynn Burkett being that athletic and breaking on the dribble, and we got shots where we wanted. We got the ball to the post, and that opened up a couple of 3-point shots.”
Watson outscored the entire Whitko team 9-4 in the first quarter. She was fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer and hit three free throws, then had a steal and a layup to make it 7-0. Kami Burkett’s driving banker and two Scorsone free throws made it 11-0.
Watson had a banker in transition off a Rily Holloway assist and a steal and a layup later in the quarter.
Watson said she wasn’t looking to score in the first quarter so much as set up post players like Scorsone and Thomas.
“I think we knew coming into this game that we had to get it to the post because they have one post player, and she doesn’t score much,” Watson explained. “We knew that coming in here, we needed to get the ball into the post because they’re mostly all guards. So I think that once we push it up and got it to the post that they were unstoppable.”
The Lady Zs led by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter, but Whitko would rally within 10, the last time on Eryn Watmough’s right baseline jumper.
But Watson and Rily Holloway would combine to make five of six free throws in the final 1:05 to end any doubt.
But this game was decided in the first quarter.
“I thought that the five that we start really do an excellent job defensively out there,” Jennings said. “We got in our gaps really well. We put some pressure on the ball. Blocked out well. We played pretty good basketball that first quarter, and I think at the end of the first quarter, we just took a breath and relaxed a little bit too much.”
The win keeps Rochester within one game in the loss of column of Northfield (5-1), Tippecanoe Valley (4-1) and Peru (4-1). Northfield beat Valley 51-39 on Thursday.
“Once Northfield beat Valley, we knew we had a chance again,” Watson said. “We can’t take anything for granted anymore. We’ve got to keep grinding. We’ve got to beat Valley, we’ve got to beat Manchester, and we’ve got to take Northfield out to at least tie.”
Rochester 57, Whitko 42
ROCHESTER (57) (12-6, 4-2)
Kami Burkett 1 0-2 2, Kallie Watson 4 5-7 14, Lexy Thomas 6 2-4 14, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Millie Scorsone 4 7-10 15, Rily Holloway 2 4-4 8, Lilith Eaton 0 0-1 0, Savanah Eccles 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 2 0-0 4, Elizabeth Weaver 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 19 18-28 57
WHITKO (42) (3-11, 0-5)
Kloe Krieg 5 0-0 14, Kirsten Schipper 1 0-3 3, Braisha Harrison 1 0-0 3, Adryianna Phillips 3 0-0 6, Gwen Howard 1 0-0 2, Katelyn Cripe 0 0-0 0, Nadia Rhoades 0 0-0 0, Brookelynn Coburn 2 0-0 4, Kylie Fugett 0 2-4 2, Eryn Watmough 4 0-0 8, Maggie Wolf 0 0-0 0, Alyson Tucker 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 17 2-7 42
Three-point field goals:
Rochester 1 (Watson),
Whitko 6 (Krieg 4, Harrison, Schipper)
Total fouls: Rochester 12, Whitko 21
Fouled out: Schipper (WHI), :32.7, fourth
Turnovers: Rochester 14, Whitko 23
Score by quarters
Rochester 20 12 12 13 – 57
Whitko 4 13 9 16 – 42
JV: Rochester 35, Whitko 22
Watch full game here: