Rolla's perfect record in the Ozark Conference came down to a final shot when the Bulldogs (19-1, 5-0 OC) hosted Parkview on Wednesday, Feb. 7. After coming back from a double figure deficit, Rolla needed one final shot as the clock hit zero and Davie Pound delivered with a dagger to give the Bulldogs a 53-51 win.
The biggest highlight for Rolla in the first half came off the hands of Josh Pritchett when the senior captain scored his 1,000th career point on his only bucket of the second quarter. Outside of that, Parkview controlled the opening half on the back of Tyem Freeman. Freeman buried two threes in the first quarter and scored 14 points in the first half, which included an emphatic dunk. Dante Taylor added eight points in the second quarter and Rolla was stuck behind the eight ball.
Pritchett scored his 1,000th point in the first half, but Parkview's gameplan was to slow him down and they succeeded in the first half, holding him to two points. Rolla's was able to keep up with the Vikings in the opening half and went into the break trailing 33-24. Rolla needed to step up in the second half and head coach Mark Miller said they didn't need much inspiration from him.
"The thing about our guys is that I don't need to do a lot at halftime. They are very competitive guys and it was motivation enough for them to be down double figures at halftime. They were ready to come out and really bust it," said Miller. "We didn't play our best defense early, we felt like Parkview hit shots on us. And then we didn't feel like we were going to get rebounds that well and our shots weren't falling. That changed for us in the second half."
You could see that motivation from the Bulldogs right away in the second half. Rolla opened the third quarter on a 7-3 run before Muluken Pritchett buried a three with 3:15 left in the quarter to cut the score gap to two. Alec Buhr followed that with a steal and score 20 seconds later to tie the game at 38.
From there, small leads were traded for the rest of the game. Rolla opened the fourth with a 42-40 lead off the hands of Josh Pritchett, but that lead was short lived. Neither team led by more than a few points in the fourth quarter. The game came down to the final minute and a half. J. Pritchett buried a three with 1:26 left in the contest to tie the game at 49. The Bulldogs turned the ball over on their next possession, but Parkview missed a layup on the other end. Nick Janke nearly came down with a rebound for Rolla after the miss, but Parkview got their hands on it just enough to force a jump ball. The possession arrow was pointed in the Vikings' favor with 23 seconds left on the clock.
After a little time ran off the clock, Buhr fouled out, sending Freeman to the line with 9.2 seconds left on the clock. The Parkview junior knocked down both of his attempts to take a 51-49 lead. Rolla got the ball to J. Pritchett on the inbound and Parkview made the mistake of fouling the Rolla senior, sending the Bulldog's leading scorer to the line with 6.4 seconds left. Pritchett hit his first attempt, but the second bounced off the rim and Parkview came down with the rebound. The Bulldogs instantly fouled to send Gage Clark to the with 5.2 seconds left. Clark missed both of his attempts and Rolla had to rush to get a shot off. The plan was to get the ball to Pritchett and have him sprint down the court for a layup, but he was stuffed on Parkview's side of the court. The Bulldog captain found Davie Pound open at the three point line and fired a pass down court, where Pound gathered the pass, pump faked Freeman and buried the game-winner in a 53-51 win. The gym absolutely exploded and every Rolla student in the crowd rushed Pound right in front of the Bulldog bench.
"I just saw (Freeman) coming at me and I knew he would swat me if I didn't pump fake, so I pump faked and it was just an open three," said Pound. "I thought it was in. The one at halftime, I thought was in too, but it didn't go in. This one was more big though."
Buhr and Josh Pritchett tied for the team lead in points with 14 in the win. Janke and Coby Martin each added seven, while Muluken Pritchett scored six. Pound's game winning three was his only basket off the night, but he couldn't have picked a better time to hit it.
"Davie's a good shooter," said coach Miller. "He had the confidence to step up and knock down the biggest shot of the night.
The Bulldogs didn't have the same luck in the freshman and JV games. The freshman started the night with Parkview winning 57-37. Hunter Hoss led the freshmen with 12 points, while Evan Colench scored eight. The JV got out to a slow start, trailing 17-9 through the opening quarter and couldn't quite finish off the comeback in a 49-47 loss. Trey Brown led the JV Bulldogs with 14 points, while Colby Shivers added another 11.
The Bulldog's trek to win the Ozark Conference will now hit the road with three straight away games. The first of which is a trip to Camdenton on Friday, Feb. 9.