The Rolla girls basketball team (1-3) hit the road for the first time when they traveled to Springfield Central on Thursday, Nov. 30. The Lady Bulldogs finally broke into the win column thanks to some great performances in the paint to take down their future Ozark Conference foe 66-58.
Rolla got out to a great start defensively, holding Central to just six points in the opening quarter. Offensively, Rolla had to get the job done at the free throw line, because the Lady Bulldogs stepped to the charity stripe 11 times in the first quarter, making five of those attempts. Rolla had five different players score in the opening quarter to take a 9-6 lead.
After a solid start offensively in the first quarter, Rolla exploded in the second. The Lady Bulldogs scored 22 points in the second quarter alone with a combination of three pointers and points in the paint. Ellie Rodgers buried two threes, while Karlee Cheesman sank one to stretch the Central defense. Down in the paint, Rebecca Janke scored seven points to find some great balance for the Lady Bulldogs. Defensively, Rolla held Central to 10 points, which gave them a solid 31-16 lead at the half.
The offense kept rolling in the third thanks to some grit from Loran Pritchett. Pritchett took foul after foul to head to the free throw line nine times in the quarter, making four of those shots from the charity stripe as a part of an eight point quarter. Janke added another four points in the paint in the quarter. Central managed to keep pace in the third, as both teams scored 18 points to carry a 49-34 score into the final frame.
The points kept rolling in the fourth, as Central started to stage a comeback. Central hit three three-pointers in a 24-point fourth quarter as they tried to claw their way back into the game. Rolla wouldn't let that comeback happen. Mattie Dean scored six points to lead Rolla in a 17-point quarter as the Lady Bulldogs finished off a 66-58 win.
"I thought we played very well other than struggling from the free throw line. We moved the ball well offensively and took care of it for the most part," said Rolla head coach Luke Floyd. "We rebounded well and we defended pretty well. Central is a good team with some nice players. I was happy that the girls were able to go play on the road and get a win."
Janke led Rolla offensively and fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine boards. She also added a staggering six blocks to control the game inside on both sides of the ball. She also had one steal and one assist. Another forward in Pritchett was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, while also just falling short of a double-double with nine boards. Rodgers joined them in double figures with 10 points, three assists, two steals and a rebound. Another standout was Cheesman, as the point guard still managed to pull down nine rebounds, while adding eight points, three steals and two assists. Dean chipped in another eight points, three rebounds and a steal in the win.
Rolla had a cleaner game in the turnover department than usual, giving the ball away 15 times in their fist victory of the season. They also dominated the boards with a total of 43 rebounds, 21 of which came on the offensive end.
The Lady Bulldogs will now have a week off before they hit the road again with a trip to Hermann on Friday, Dec. 8.