By CHRIS MACKINDER
ROCHESTER — Playing one of its worst games of the season, the Logansport boys basketball team ran into a team that played one of its best.
The results weren’t desirable.
Rochester used a stifling defense, strong rebounding and timely three-point shooting to breeze past the Berries 62-46 Friday night.
“We had an intensity coming into the game, plus it was senior night and we wanted the seniors to walk off the court for the last time with a win,” Rochester coach Rob Malchow said. “We knew we would have to play well in order to win and we did.”
It also helped that the Berries (14-6), struggled shooting from the field all game long. Logansport finished the game 19-for-49 from the floor (38.8 percent) including just 4-for-20 from three-point range.
K.C. Victor, typically one of the Berries’ top scorers, scored nine points in the game but they all came in the first quarter. He finished 4-for-15 shooting but did have three rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Kory Rombold led the Berries with 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals while Zach Deitrich added six points and six boards before fouling out.
David Tribbett also scored six points to go along with four rebounds before fouling out.
“Offensively, we just shot the ball poorly,” Logansport coach Al Rhodes said. “We just weren’t patient enough. When we fell behind, we just weren’t patient when looking for shots.”
Logansport also didn’t get many second chance opportunities to score as Rochester dominated the boards 33-25.
“They were very strong rebounding,” Rhodes said. “They limited us to one shot most of the time ... I thought we played weak underneath. Whenever we got bumped a little we couldn’t finish.”
Both Malchow and his players said this was arguably the biggest win of the year for the Zebras (15-5), ranking right up there with a big win over Tippecanoe Valley in a holiday tournament.
Luke Smith led the Zebras with 22 points and six boards while Kavan Hoff added 15 points including a pair of triples. The duo also finished the game a combined 13-for-17 from the free-throw line.
But Hoff said it was the team’s defense that fueled the offense and was the reason the Zebras could celebrate on senior night.
“That was probably the best we’ve played all year, maybe in my career,” Hoff said. “...It was awesome.”
Things started off well for the Berries as Logansport held a three-point lead midway through the first quarter. Victor sunk a layup with 10 seconds remaining and then responded on the other end of the court with a big block to send Logansport into the second quarter with a 16-15 lead.
But the Berries experienced a couple dry spells the rest of the way, the first coming at the start of the second stanza.
Rochester went on an 8-0 run — capped off by a disputed foul on a three-point shot — to take a 23-16 lead three minutes into the quarter. Rombold responded by splitting a pair of free throws and then hitting a three-pointer but the Berries never got closer than five the rest of the game.
“They played a great game in all facets,” Rhodes said.
Coming out of halftime down 33-25, the Berries went the first 3:30 without a field goal. By that time, the Zebras had increased their lead to 40-25 and the Berries had burned a pair of timeouts.
The rest of the third quarter and the fourth quarter were much of the same. Rochester sunk free throws down the stretch and both teams emptied their benches with about two minutes to play in the last game before the state tournament.
“Anytime you beat a program like Logansport, that’s got tradition and is a 4A school, you take pride in that,” Malchow said.
By CHRIS MACKINDER