The Rolla boys basketball team (20-1, 6-0 OC) traveled to Camdenton for an Ozark Conference game on Friday, Feb. 9. After getting out to a slow start, Rolla ran away with things in the second half to crush the Lakers 72-47.
The Bulldogs had a streaky opening half, going on two majors runs in the first two quarters. Rolla put together a 7-0 run in the first, but still only held onto a 14-12 lead after a quarter of play. Camdenton was able to tie the game at 14, but Rolla never trailed in the contest. After retaking the lead in the second, Rolla dominated the second quarter, which included a 12-3 run. The Bulldogs went into the half with a comfortable 34-23 lead.
After the half, it was all Rolla. The Bulldogs' lead ballooned out to 53-32 with a quarter left to play and they finished things off with 19 more points in the fourth to cruise to a 72-47 victory.
Turnovers played a big role for Rolla in the game, as the Camdenton turned the ball over 21 times and Rolla gave it away just 13 times. Head coach Mark Miller switched up the defense a bit in the second half, which helped spark Rolla's run away win.
“We were very disappointed with the effort in the first half, not playing any defense or rebounding well," said coach Miller. "We changed defenses in the second half and they gave a little bit better effort, but you have to tip your hat to Camdenton and Coach (Craig) Campbell. They had their guys prepared and hung around for a long time.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by 24 points from Alec Buhr and 21 points from Josh Pritchett. While that duo did a lot of the scoring, it was a full team effort, as nine different Rolla players scored in the victory. Nick Janke added eight points in the win, while Davie Pound and Coby Martin each chipped in with five. That wide range of scoring threats makes Rolla a dangerous team.
“They are really good at sharing the basketball and the whole team is pretty darn good at sharing the basketball so we find the open guy, attack well and we get a lot of post play out of Nick (Janke) and Aaron (Cunningham)," said coach Miller. "It is a well-rounded team and a bunch of good guys to coach.”
That balanced offense also makes it easier for guys like Buhr and Pritchett to get open looks, because defenses have to focus on all five guys on the court.
“It makes everything a lot easier because everyone can score on the team," said Buhr after the game. "So, usually it is Josh and I on the perimeter and we are just trying to get an attack. If we can get an attack and go to the rim, that is perfect and what we are looking for, but if not we are confident in passing it to an open (guy for a) three-pointer and making a three-pointer.”
The Bulldogs have kept their perfect season within the Ozark Conference alive, but coach Miller still knows they have a lot they can improve on.
“We’re thankful to be where we’re at, but we have a lot of work yet to get done and these guys will work hard going forward to get us where we want to be,” said the Rolla head coach.
Rolla is tied with Glendale for the top of the Ozark Conference, but the Falcons aren't the only team standing in their way of the conference title. Kickapoo is up next on Tuesday, Feb. 13, before a trip to Glendale on Friday. Rolla also has Waynesville left to play in the conference. While there are some tough games ahead, Buhr and the Bulldogs are confident that they're headed in the right direction.
“We are really going for that conference championship," said Buhr. "And we are just gearing up for Districts."