You can make it if you ‘Tri:’ Hot shooting, strong defense on Chapman lead to Zebra win over Trojans
Balanced Rochester scoring: McCarter 17, Hughes 17, Stesiak 16, McGlothin 16
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Not even one of the top 10 scorers in the state could figure out the Rochester boys basketball team’s zone defenses Saturday.
And it’s beginning to look like opponents are having trouble figuring out their offense too.
Tri-Central’s Jake Chapman came in 10th in the state in scoring averaging 27.3 points per game and just two games removed from a 42-point effort in a loss to Frankton, but RHS held him to just 12 points while shooting 57 percent from the field themselves on their way to a 70-36 trouncing of the Trojans at the RHS gym Saturday.
Tri-Central led 6-5 before Rochester delivered a 32-2 haymaker run that covered the first and second quarters.
RHS went 10 for 19 from 3-point range, and Grant McCarter hit five of the treys and tied for team-high scoring honors with 17 points. Blake Hughes also had a career-high 17 points and seven rebounds, and Quin Stesiak and Tarick McGlothin had 16 points each.
McGlothin has set his career-high in scoring twice in the last three games. His previous high was 14 at Northfield on Jan. 29.
Caden Leininger hit four 3-pointers and also scored 12 for Tri-Central (6-9).
The Zebras (12-1) also held Tri-Central, who came in averaging 62 points per game, scoreless for a seven-minute stretch in the first half, and they held them without a field goal as part of an 18-4 run that opened the second half.
RHS allows 37.1 points per game, tops in the state.
The lead got as big as 66-28 on two Stesiak free throws with 7:33 left.
RHS started out in a matchup 2-3 zone that hung tight on Chapman. Coach Rob Malchow said it was not unlike the defense that RHS used against Winamac star Will Larkin in last year’s sectional semifinal win. In fact, Malchow referred to it as the “Larkin 2-3 zone.”
“We wanted to communicate everywhere he was at and make sure that when he was on your side of the floor in the middle you came out on him,” Malchow said. “And we didn’t mind if he caught the ball. We just wanted to make sure when he caught it, no matter where he was on the floor, we had a guy right there on him, and I thought we communicated really well.”
When Tri-Central posted the sturdy 6-2 Chapman up for a bucket in the second quarter, sliding him between the high and low posts, RHS switched to a more “conventional” zone defense.
“We talked about him yesterday and today in practice, and it was like the Larkin look from last year against Winamac,” Hughes said. “Our goal was just not to let him shoot the ball, which I think we did a pretty good job of. If you hold a guy who averages almost 30 a game to half that, it’s pretty good.”
The big first-half run started with a Hughes putback with 4:46 left in the first quarter. Kyle Reinartz hit Stesiak for a cutting layup, McCarter hit a long 3-pointer, and McGlothin hit 3s on back-to-back possessions. A driving layup from Stesiak made it 20-6 and necessitated a Tri-Central timeout.
The run didn’t stop.
McCarter fed Hughes in the post for a layup and drained a left-wing 3-pointer. When Stesiak hit Rochester’s fifth trey of the quarter, it was 28-6.
“We shot the ball well, and you’re not always going to shoot the ball well,” Malchow said. “That’s what I always tell the guys. We want to defend at a high level. We want to make our free throws, and we want to take care of the ball. If we can do that, I think this team when it shoots well can blow you out. But if we’re not knocking down shots because of some defensive adjustments they may make or us just being off, at least you can still compete and have a chance to win.
“I thought today was one of those days where it all clicked, and we have enough talent to execute the way we want, and it worked out well.”
The run still didn’t stop after the quarter break.
Hughes hit a 15-footer off a Stesiak assist after an offensive rebound. Mason Pickens scored in the post for Tri-Central, but Hughes scored off a putback. Stesiak scored on a post 12-foot banker, split a pair of free throws and then scored in the post again.
It was 37-8.
“Well, obviously our defense wasn’t very good, but I don’t think Rochester missed a shot,” Tri-Central coach Bill Bowen said. “They shot it awfully well, and our defense wasn’t very good, and they missed a couple shots, and they got second-chance points off that. That was an emphasis not to give up second chances.
“They’re good. Rochester’s really good. We played several 1A teams. Carroll’s lost one game. Eastern Hancock’s lost one game. These guys have got size. That’s a really good basketball team.”
Hughes’ previous career high was 16 against Rensselaer in a double-overtime win in last year’s sectional final.
“They just kind of came to me,” Hughes said after his season-high scoring effort. “I took them when they were there. They don’t always come to me. You take advantage of them when you do get them. … It’s nice to help out every once in awhile, which is what I try to do. I don’t think of myself as a big scorer.”
Rochester also won the JV game 41-29 behind 11 points each from Brock Bowers and Dryden Vance. Aaron Huffman had seven, Luke Hunting had six, Colton Ferverda had five, and Robert Bozzo had one.
The Southwood-Rochester game scheduled for Thursday was postponed to this Tuesday due to inclement weather. Game time is 6:15 p.m./7:45 p.m. (JV/Varsity) at RHS. Southwood and Rochester were the only TRC teams to win their sectional last year. Southwood averages 61.3 points per game, second in the TRC behind Maconaquah (61.4).
Southwood’s Carson Rich averages 19.8 ppg. He scored a career-high 36 in a 64-45 win over Oak Hill on Jan. 12.
Rochester 70, Tri-Central 36
TRI-CENTRAL (36) (6-9)
Caden Leininger 4 0-0 12, Jake Chapman 3 6-8 12, Holden Rayl 1 0-1 2, Mason Pickens 2 2-7 6, Conner Hindman 1 0-0 2, Daetyn Horn 0 0-0 0, Ross Cassity 0 0-0 0, Luke Martin 0 0-0 0, Connor Hight 0 0-0 0, Garrett Graves 0 0-0 0, Jace Cassity 1 0-0 2
TEAM: 12 8-16 36
ROCHESTER (70) (12-1)
Grant McCarter 6 0-0 17, Tarick McGlothin 5 2-2 16, Quin Stesiak 5 5-6 16, Kyle Reinartz 1 0-0 2, Blake Hughes 8 1-1 17, Aaron Huffman 0 0-0 0, Trenton Reinholt 0 0-0 0, Evan Elliott 0 0-0 0, Dryden Vance 0 0-0 0, Aidan Smith 1 0-1 2, Brock Bowers 0 0-0 0, Reece Renie 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 26 8-10 70
Three-point field goals:
Tri-Central 4 (Leininger 4),
Rochester 10 (McCarter 5, McGlothin 4, Stesiak)
Total fouls: Tri-Central 13, Rochester 15
Turnovers: Tri-Central 8, Rochester 9
Score by quarters
Tri-Central 6 13 9 8 – 36
Rochester 28 12 24 6 – 70
JV: Rochester 41, Tri-Central 29
Rochester senior guard-forward Quin Stesiak (left) tied his season-high with 16 points in a 70-36 win over Tri-Central Saturday. Rochester sophomore point guard Tarick McGlothin (Right) hit four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 16 points in a 70-36 win over Tri-Central Saturday.