DIXON – Rivalry games are rarely a thing of beauty on the basketball court, and Tuesday’s Big Northern game between Dixon and Rock Falls was no
Neither team lit it up offensively, but it was the Rockets’ solid defense and the Duchesses’ cold shooting that resulted in a 35-24 win for Rock Falls.
The Rockets’ initial plan was to play primarily zone, as the Duchesses went to the free-throw line 19 times against a man-to-man defense in a win over Rock Falls at the Sauk Valley Shootout.
Dixon (5-2, 1-1 BNC) shot the Rockets out of their zone in the first quarter thanks to five 3-pointers for a 15-9 lead after one. Caylyn Kimmel and Emily Lynch drained two triples each, and Abby Guthrie sank one.
In the second quarter, Rock Falls (6-2, 2-0) switched back to man-to-man, and the move paid off. The Duchesses were held scoreless in the second quarter, and were 3-for-24 from the field over the final three quarters.
“I thought both teams played really well defensively,” Dixon coach Luke Ravlin said. “Everybody saw that we didn’t put up many points against Byron, and thought, ‘Hey, let’s play a 1-3-1 zone.’
“The reality is we shoot the ball pretty well most nights, so it is what it is. Credit to Rock Falls for switching it up and playing a tough man-to-man. That was a good
The Rockets seized their first lead of the game late in the first half.
Abi Peyton drilled a 3 from the left wing, and Kenzie Olson connected on a jumper to trim the deficit to one, then a layup by Elise Moeller with 2:15 left in the second quarter put Rock Falls ahead for good.
Moeller played for the first time since Nov. 12, when she suffered a concussion in the season opener against Stillman Valley.
Rock Falls scored six points in the first 2 minutes of the third quarter. Molly Buck made a layup, Kylie Fischbach converted a putback, and Olson banked a layup off the glass for a 22-15 lead.
The Duchesses went scoreless for 13 minutes of game action. Madelyn Chesley made a nice post move for a bucket with 4:59 in the third quarter, but the Rockets still led 26-21 after three.
Dixon went 0-for-9 from the field in the fourth quarter, making only three free throws and turning the ball over four times. Lynch spent most of the night in foul trouble, but still led Dixon with seven points.
The Duchesses finished at 22 percent (8-for-36) from the field.
Rock Falls went just 5-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final minute and a half, but still held on thanks to a strong defensive effort.
“It was nice that once we missed those free throws, we didn’t hang our heads,” Rock Falls coach Eric Wolf said. “We went down and got stops and steals.”
Rock Falls didn’t shoot particularly well either, finishing at 38 percent (14-for-37) from the field. The Rockets did control the paint, however, outrebounding the Duchesses 31-20.
Peyton scored a game-high 11 points, and also grabbed seven rebounds and dished two assists.
“We wanted to get up the court quick,” Peyton said, “and have been working in practice on moving the ball instead of forcing shots.”
Olson recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and also blocked a pair of shots. Buck added six points, four boards and four steals.
Rock Falls 35, Dixon 24
Star of the game: Kenzie Olson, RF, 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
Key performers: Abi Peyton, 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists; Emily Lynch, Dixon, 7 points, 4 rebounds
Up next: Moline at Rock Falls, 3 p.m. Saturday; Dixon at Winnebago, 7:15 p.m. Saturday