Whitko snaps Rochester’s 10-game TRC winning streak
Huffman scores 8 in first career start; McGlothin adds 8, Leasure 7
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Whitko boys basketball team had not won a game in over a month.
The Rochester boys basketball team had not lost a Three Rivers Conference game in nearly two years.
Trends changed for both teams at the RHS gym Friday, where Whitko pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn a 49-35 win.
Kyler Krull scored 17 points, Collin Ziebarth had 13, and Slater Craig came off the bench to score 10 for the visiting Wildcats (3-6, 1-2 TRC), who had lost four straight games.
Aaron Huffman made his first career start for Rochester (4-5, 1-1) and tied for team-high scoring honors with eight points. Tarick McGlothin also had eight, and Paul Leasure had seven.
Rochester’s last TRC loss was a 75-48 loss to Maconaquah on Feb. 28, 2020.
However, one trend continued Friday: Whitko has beaten the Zebras the last four times they have played at Rochester.
Whitko never trailed, and their 14-point margin of victory represented their largest lead. Rochester coach Rob Malchow benched his starters in the final two minutes.
“They played like they needed one badly, and we played like we were on holiday break still, and it didn’t look good,” Malchow said.
Ziebarth drew the defensive assignment on Leasure, and he also hit a 3-pointer with 5:02 left in the third quarter that put Whitko ahead for good at 28-25.
Rochester hung within 33-30 when Leasure hit a 3-pointer from the right wing after McGlothin had a backcourt deflection of an inbounds pass.
But Whitko responded with a Mason Streby layup on an inbounds play, a cutting layup from Craig and a driving layin from Krull.
That gave Whitko a 39-30 lead after three quarters, and Rochester never got closer than eight in the fourth quarter.
Rochester tried a man-to-man, a 2-3 zone, a 3-2 zone, a halfcourt trap and a three-quarter court press, but Whitko made the necessary adjustments and got six combined 3-pointers from sophomore sharpshooters Krull and Ziebarth.
“We thought maybe we could switch defenses and put them on their heels a little bit, but we weren’t playing hard enough to make them work,” Malchow said. “Our rotations were slow, and they just picked us apart and really attacked us well. And we didn’t respond very well.”
Meanwhile, Whitko coach Chris Benedict put junior point guard David Ousley on McGlothin and Ziebarth on Leasure.
“That was the key to the game,” Benedict said. “Those two kids are obviously really good players. … They’re going to get good looks. They’re going to make some shots, they’re going to hit some 3s, and they’re going to get in the lane. They’re really good players. We just wanted to limit them going on runs, getting two, three, four baskets in a row. I thought we did a good job defensively, also our big kids of rebounding their first miss to make sure they didn’t get another easy opportunity after that if they didn’t score one.”
Whitko jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the second quarter, but two Huffman 3-pointers and a McGlothin 3-point play highlighted a 9-1 Rochester run that tied the game 11-11.
But Craig’s driving layup as Whitko broke Rochester’s press and a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the half from Krull gave Whitko a 23-17 halftime lead.
Krull also got the first bucket of the second half, but McGlothin penetrated and found Hunting for a layup, Reinartz converted a 3-point play, and McGlothin hit a right corner trey to tie the game at 25.
Rochester prevailed in the JV game 50-47. Brock Bowers scored 14 points, Colton Ferverda had 13, Owen Prater had eight, Dylan Hook had four, Drew Bowers had three, Bryce Baugher had three, Ethan Medina had three, and Luke Malchow had two.
Rochester boys basketball notes
The Zebras host Oregon-Davis at 5:30 p.m./7 p.m. (JV/Varsity) Saturday. Oregon-Davis is 1-6 and will be playing their first game in three weeks.
Aidan Smith and Xavier Vance, who missed the Wawasee tournament on Dec. 29 due to an illness and an ankle injury, respectively, came off the bench against Whitko.
Malchow bemoaned the team’s continuing rebounding problems.
“Like it’s been all season, a big factor,” Malchow said. “They had length and strength, and we didn’t compete well and didn’t block out. If we don’t block out, they’re not going over our backs, but it’s basically a jump ball because they’re going to get it and that’s what happened a lot tonight.”
Whitko 49, Rochester 35
WHITKO (49) (3-6, 1-2)
Kyler Krull 6 2-3 17, Collin Ziebarth 4 2-4 13, David Ousley 0 0-0 0, Ryan Brown 0 0-0 0, Mason Streby 4 1-4 9, Slater Craig 3 4-7 10
TEAM: 17 9-18 49
ROCHESTER (35) (4-5, 1-1)
Tarick McGlothin 2 3-3 8, Paul Leasure 3 0-0 7, Aaron Huffman 3 0-0 8, Tanner Reinartz 1 3-3 5, Luke Hunting 2 1-2 5, Brock Bowers 0 0-0 0, Evan Elliott 0 0-0 0, Aidan Smith 0 2-2 2, Robert Bozzo 0 0-0 0, Ethan Medina 0 0-0 0, Xavier Vance 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 11 9-10 35
Three-point field goals:
Whitko 6 (Krull 3, Ziebarth 3),
Rochester 4 (Huffman 2, McGlothin, Leasure)
Total fouls: Whitko 9, Rochester 18
Turnovers: Whitko 16, Rochester 14
Score by quarters
Whitko 5 18 16 10 – 49
Rochester 2 15 13 5 – 35
JV: Rochester 50, Whitko 47
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