Rochelle finishes 3-1 after wins over Rockford Christian and Lena-Winslow
OREGON — Senior Alivia Henkel drilled a buzzer beater for the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity basketball team on Saturday, when the purple and white concluded the Oregon Tipoff Tournament with a 53-51 victory over Lena-Winslow to bring home the third-place trophy.
Henkel finished with a team-high 27 points while grabbing nine rebounds and generating eight steals for the Lady Hubs, who outlasted Lena-Winslow in the consolation finals to take third in the tournament. Junior Kendyl Darby recorded nine points and six rebounds, while junior Abby Metzger scored eight points and delivered the game-winning assist on Henkel’s buzzer beater.
“Alivia understands that she’s the best athlete out there almost all of the time,” head coach Jon Gehm said. “She’s looking to run and she’s attacking the basket. We’ve talked with her about attacking the basket and we’re working with her on changing speeds so we can highlight her athleticism and her explosiveness. She’s doing a great job for us and she plays with a lot of confidence. We believe in her and she knows she can be the engine that gets our team going.”
Rochelle (3-1, 0-0 Interstate 8) finished first in the pool round after a 50-15 win over Richmond-Burton on Wednesday and a 63-42 win over Rockford Christian on Thursday. The Lady Hubs saw two players reach double figures during their victory against the Royal Lions on Thursday, with Henkel scoring 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting and Darby adding 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Henkel and Darby each had nine rebounds to keep the Lady Hubs on top.
“We believe that Kendyl has all of the talent in the world,” Gehm said. “She can get to the basket and she uses her size well down low. I thought she was solid defensively over the weekend and she played very well on the back line. We’ve talked with her about being aggressive and she had a slow start against Rockford Christian, but we talked with her about being the aggressor and she took that to heart. She knocked down shots, got to the basket and drew fouls.”
The Lady Hubs suffered their first loss of the tournament early Saturday afternoon, conceding a 56-31 loss against the Dixon Duchesses, who went on to win the tournament championship. Henkel finished with a team-high 12 points and four steals for the Lady Hubs, who returned to the court Saturday evening for their victory against Lena-Winslow. Henkel brought home All-Tournament Team honors for the Lady Hubs, who will face Sterling on the road Monday.
“Early on, we really emphasized bringing energy and effort during every practice and every game,” Gehm said. “I thought that translated over to the Oregon tournament, even against Dixon who beat us pretty handily. I thought our effort was really good and we were playing hard on the defensive end. That’s a huge start for us and it’s something we can work with throughout the season. We’re definitely a work in progress on offense and we haven’t had great shooting performances yet, but it’s early and we have a lot of season to work with on both ends.”
Seniors Sydney Tabor and Kara Martinez each scored six points during Rochelle’s win over Rockford Christian on Thursday evening. Junior Emma Kennay also grabbed nine rebounds for the Lady Hubs, who saw Tabor and Martinez combine for seven assists in the victory.