Bulldogs drop Ozark Conference opener.

The Rolla High School boys' basketball team put up a fight in its Ozark Conference opener but eventually it wasn't enough against the rugged, state-ranked Springfield Hillcrest Hornets.

After a fast start by the RHS Bulldogs, Hillcrest took a slim lead by halftime and managed to keep it the rest of the way to post a physical, 62-54 victory.

It was the league opener for both teams. Rolla falls to 7-5 overall while Hillcrest, ranked No. 7 in this week's Missouri Class 4 state poll, improves to 11-5.

Behind the play of 6-4 junior forward Caleb Copeland and 5-10 sophomore guard Kobe Wands the Bulldogs fired out to the early lead, heading into the second period with a 19-14 advantage.

However, the Hornets turned up the intensity and limited Rolla to just four second-quarter points to take a 26-23 lead into intermission.

Hillcrest would keep a slim lead throughout the second half. The Hornets outscored Rolla 13-11 in the third period to grab a 39-34 edge going into the fourth quarter.

"It was a very physical game and it took its toll on us down the stretch," said Rolla head coach Mark Miller. "Our guys played really hard the entire way. We didn't shoot as well as we have in the past but that's okay; we'll come back from this one."

Copeland finished with a game-high 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs while K. Wands had 13 points, six assists and two steals; 5-11 junior guard Carter Wands had four assists and five steals, and 6-2 senior forward Aaron Froehlich grabbed seven boards.

Brady Petry, a 6-2 junior forward, paced Hillcrest with 15 points while 5-11 senior guard Matt Rush had 12 points and 5-10 junior guard Darnell Green-Beckham 10.

Hillcrest also won the junior varsity game 48-41. Hillcrest led the jayvee game 12-11 after one period and the game was tied at 23 during halftime. Rolla trailed 36-28 entering the fourth quarter.

Sophomore guard Ulrik Mjaaseth had 12 points for the Rolla jayvee squad, now 6-3.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to return home for a non-conference game on Friday, hosting Sullivan at the RHS gym, with the jayvee game starting at 6 p.m. and the varsity contest to follow.

Hillcrest 62, Rolla 54
Rolla (7-5, 0-1): Facen 2-0-4, K. Wands 4-1-13, C. Wands 0-2-2, Froehlich 3-0-6, Marshall 2-0-6, Maynard 1-0-2, O'Brennan 2-0-4, Copeland 8-0-17, Totals 22-3-54.

Hillcrest (11-5, 1-0): Rush 5-2-12, Troy 3-0-7, McIntosh 2-2-8, Johnson 3-0-7, Green-Beckham 4-1-10, Petry 6-3-15, Podrugel 1-1-3, Totals 24-9-62.

Junior Varsity
Hillcrest 48, Rolla 41
Rolla (6-3): Kaden 4-1-9, Mjaaseth 4-3-12, Short 3-0-9, Hoffman 0-1-1, Reed 2-0-4, Voight 2-0-6, Totals 15-5-41.

Hillcrest: Promhetto 5-1-13, Duke 1-0-3, Clark 0-7-7, Dye 2-2-6, O'Dell 2-0-5, Terry 1-2-5, Podrugel 2-1-5, Jones 1-0-2, Savage 1-0-2, Totals 15-13-48.