Zebras’ second-quarter run helps pull away from Cavaliers
McGlothin, Hunting, Bozzo all score in double figures in season-opening win
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
CULVER — Tarick McGlothin scored 14 points, and Luke Hunting and Robert Bozzo
scored 11 points each in their respective varsity debuts to lead the Rochester boys basketball team to a 60-41 win over host Culver at John R. Nelson Gymnasium on Nov. 24.
Rochester led wire to wire and went on a 10-0 run to open the second quarter to build a 23-9 lead, and they went on another 9-0 run covering the second and third quarters to get the lead to 37-14.
The lead, which got as large as 28 points, stayed over 20 until a basket from Culver’s Auston Zehner just before the final buzzer.
Emiliano Ortiz led the Cavaliers with 17 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. Mason Herbert made his first career start and added 10.
Rochester beat Culver for the fifth straight year in their traditional Thanksgiving Eve season opener.
McGlothin was the only returning starter from the Rochester team that lost to Rossville in a Class 2A regional semifinal in March. Elliott, the team’s only senior, made his first career varsity start. Paul Leasure, a transfer from Tippecanoe Valley, made his Zebra debut and scored seven points. Other newcomers seeing their first career minutes for the Rochester varsity included junior Ethan Medina, sophomore Colton Ferverda and freshmen Tanner Reinartz and Xavier Vance.
The new-look squad was already leading 13-9 after one quarter with help from Hunting’s seven points. Still, Rochester coach Rob Malchow was not happy. First, they had allowed multiple offensive rebounds that led to an Ortiz 3-pointer. They then shot the ball too early on what was supposed to be the final possession of the quarter and that led to a Shane Shuman basket before the end of the quarter.
Elliott scored on an inbounds play, McGlothin hit a 15-foot pullup, Elliott hit two free throws, McGlothin hit two free throws, and Leasure hit a 12-foot fadeaway after a Culver turnover.
“At the end of the quarter, we talked about better game management,” Rochester coach Rob Malchow said. “There were five points at the end of that quarter that really I just said we can’t allow moving forward. I thought we came out in the second quarter and played with a little more urgency in that way and separated.”
Culver coach Kyle Evans acknowledged that the start of the second quarter was crucial.
“That essentially was the ballgame really,” Evans said. “We get to a point where when we are struggling to shoot the ball the way we were and finishing in the paint, you just can’t let a lead balloon up to 15 or 16, or it’s going to be tough getting back. And we’re not necessarily a team that’s built for scoring a lot of points really quickly. And I think, honest to goodness, that was probably the ballgame right there.”
Jalen King stopped Culver’s 6:10 scoring drought with a short banker, but Bozzo, a 6-2 sophomore backup, answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner. On the next possession, Bozzo had another trey try from the left corner. It deflected off the side of the backboard, and Bozzo chased down his own miss and laid it in to make it 28-11.
“It feels great,” Bozzo said. “First varsity game, so it was thrilling. I was very nervous.”
While forwards like Hunting, who also had eight rebounds before fouling out with 3:59 left, and Bozzo were shining, Rochester committed only four turnovers in the first half against Culver’s defensive pressure, which thrives on traps along the sidelines.
“I thought the first quarter was kind of getting to the point where we were taking one dribble too many,” Malchow said. “Or making the pass without the dribble quicker and making their defense move and go from side to side. And that’s where I thought in the second half too we got a … run because we were moving the ball better. And not letting them trap us. We were getting rid of it before the trap happened.”
Meanwhile, Rochester started in a zone defense before playing more man-to-man as the game progressed. They even showed off their own fullcourt pressure in the second quarter.
Evans wants his team to have more of an offensive mindset after not averaging more than 41 points per game in any of the last three seasons. Ortiz might symbolize that more offensive mindset.
“We were still all game long shot-ready,” Evans said. “Look to shoot, look to shoot. Still not necessarily looking to take advantage of opportunities like that. He told me a couple days ago, ‘I’m still in the mindset of catching and holding,’ rather than doing what he does best and making plays off the dribble or looking to shoot.
“As a player, that would be my dream for my coach to be going, ‘Hey, Kyle, step into that shoto and shoot it.’ Yeah, that was a good performance tonight from him once he got going, but I would like to see him be even more aggressive.”
Rochester 60, Culver 41
ROCHESTER (60) (1-0)
Tarick McGlothin 3 8-8 14, Paul Leasure 3 0-0 7, Luke Hunting 4 3-3 11, Aidan Smith 2 2-2 7, Evan Elliott 1 2-2 4, Hunter Campbell 0 0-0 0, Brock Bowers 0 0-0 0, Aaron Huffman 0 0-0 0, Tanner Reinartz 1 3-4 5, Colton Ferverda 0 0-0 0, Robert Bozzo 4 1-2 11, Ethan Medina 0 0-0 0, Xavier Vance 0 1-2 1
TEAM: 18 20-23 60
CULVER (41) (0-1)
Ethan Keller 1 0-0 3, Emiliano Ortiz 4 6-6 17, Jalen King 1 1-2 3, Mason Herbert 3 2-4 10, Marquez Anderson 0 0-0 0, Oliver Morgan 0 0-2 0, Joey Pizur 0 0-0 0, Shane Shuman 2 0-0 4, Auston Zehner 1 2-2 4
TEAM: 12 11-16 41
Three-point field goals:
Rochester 4 (Bozzo 2, Leasure, Smith),
Culver 6 (Ortiz 3, Herbert 2, Keller)
Total fouls: Rochester 13, Culver 21
Fouled out: Pizur (CUL), 7:03, fourth; Hunting (RHS), 3:59, fourth
Turnovers: Rochester 16, Culver 10
Score by quarters
Rochester 13 17 16 14 – 60
Culver 9 5 8 9 – 41
Watch full game here: