Rochester races to big lead, holds on to clinch section title

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 11:18 PM


Rochester opened the game with an 18-2 run and held off Vincentian Academy down the stretch Thursday night in a 56-49 victory.

With the win, the top-ranked Rams clinched the Section 1-A championship and are headed toward a top seed in the WPIAL playoffs.

The Rams (19-1, 11-0) capitalized on seven first-quarter turnovers by the Royals (14-4, 8-2). Those turnovers led to nine Rochester points.

“The girls thrived on the atmosphere tonight,” Rams coach CJ Iannini said. “Being that it was senior night, the underclassmen wanted to play hard and honor the seniors. And the gym was packed and really rocking, so the girls came out hot.”

Vincentian Academy calmed down after a couple of early timeouts, but the Royals were unable to overcome the early deficit.

“Rochester’s a really good team, and we knew they’d be charged up on senior night and come out aggressively,” Vincentian Academy coach Ron Moncrief said. “We just tried to calm our girls down after the rough start and get them focused by calling those timeouts. Once they did that, they did a good job of coming back.”

Vincentian Academy trimmed the deficit to one point with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left, but Rams junior Alexis Robison hit a clutch 3-pointer on the next possession.

“That shot was huge, especially because we needed a spark and it gave us the momentum we needed to get the victory,” Iannini said.

Rochester was led by four players in double figures. Sophomore Corynne Houser had 17 points and was 8-8 from the free-throw line. Alexis Robison chipped in with 12 points, and Mekenzie Robison and Bethany Barto scored 10 apiece.

Royals sophomore Emilia Johnson scored a game-high 19 points, including draining three 3-pointers before fouling out with just over 4 minutes left. Tara Lucot added 14 points for Vincentian Academy.

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