LASALLE — It was a tale of two halves for the Rochelle varsity girls basketball team when the Lady Hubs traveled south for their conference rematch against LaSalle-Peru this past Friday.
Rochelle turned in one of its most efficient offensive performances during the first half, outscoring the Cavaliers 35-23 and entering halftime with a comfortable lead. But a barrage of long-range shots from LaSalle-Peru brought the Cavaliers within striking range, and Rochelle was unable to keep pace, losing its lead late in the fourth quarter before falling by a score of 61-58 to drop to 6-20 overall.
“We were able to capitalize on a lot of their turnovers,” head coach Tony Rowan said. “We always talk about live-ball turnovers versus dead-ball turnovers, and if we can keep the ball in play, then we can catch the other team in transition and tire them out a little more. Those live-ball turnovers definitely helped us.”
Senior Abby Lundquist led the scoring charge for Rochelle, pouring in 32 points with five rebounds and two steals while finishing 4-for-8 from 3-point range and 10-for-13 from the free-throw line. The Lady Hubs jumped out to a 20-13 lead after the first quarter before outscoring the Cavaliers 15-10 in the second quarter.
“She has been doing a really good job lately of sharing the basketball,” Rowan said. “She puts a lot of pressure on herself to score, but she’s trusting her teammates more now and she’s able to move and relocate without the basketball, which is huge because we can get her into open spaces instead of having all of her shots be contested.”
LaSalle-Peru caught fire from beyond the arc in the third quarter, sinking five 3-pointers and bringing the Lady Hubs within four points, 46-42, entering the fourth quarter. Two free throws from Rhiannon Skoog, who scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, tied the game at 49-49 with 5:42 remaining in the fourth quarter.
A quick 7-2 run by Rochelle created some breathing room over the final minutes, but with the Lady Hubs winning 58-55 with 44.3 seconds remaining, LaSalle-Peru made six free throws down the stretch while the Lady Hubs went scoreless.
“They started banging 3-pointers in the second half,” Rowan said. “They knocked down six 3-pointers in the second half and those turned out to be the deciding factor.”
Freshman Zoey Tabor scored seven points and added two steals for Rochelle, while senior Emilee Dueringer recorded five points and four rebounds. Freshman Josie Lundquist totaled five points and two steals, and four players including senior Makenna Ferrari, sophomore Sofia Lenkaitis and freshmen Sylvia Hasz and Lucy Bunger scored two points.