The Rolla boys basketball team (21-2, 7-1 OC) traveled to Glendale on Friday, Feb. 16 with the Ozark Conference Championship on the line. Both teams entered the game with perfect 7-0 records with the winner claiming the conference championship. The Bulldogs were in a big hole headed into the fourth quarter and made a strong comeback, but ran out of time in a 91-78 loss.
Offense wasn't hard to come by between these two teams, as the points were flying all night long. That started in the first quarter when the two teams combined for 36 points. Rolla scored 17 points in the opening frame, which included nine points from Josh Pritchett and another five points from Blaize Klossner. Rolla hit three three-pointers in the first, but Glendale matched them from long range and took a 19-17 lead into the second.
Glendale broke away in the second, exploding for 29 points. The high-flying Falcons hit seven threes in the second quarter and Rolla couldn't keep pace. The Bulldogs put up 16 points, all of which came from Pritchett and Alec Buhr, but they still went into the half trailing 48-33.
The Falcons didn't slow down in the third quarter, adding another 27 points on four more threes. Rolla scored just 11 points, as the gap ballooned out to 69-44, but Rolla wasn't going to pack it in.
The Bulldogs fought hard to get back into the game in the fourth, cutting Glendale's lead down to seven points in the quarter. Pritchett and Buhr went off for a combined 25 points with Pritchett scoring 15 and Buhr adding 10. As a team, Rolla scored 34 points in the quarter, but they needed Glendale to miss some free throws to complete the comeback. Glendale shot 19 free throws in the final quarter and converted on 13, holding off the Rolla comeback for a 91-78 win.
Pritchett and Buhr had spectacular offensive performances with 31 and 28 points perspectively, but Glendale had too many gins. Four of their players scored in double figures with three scoring at least 22 points in the win.
"Glendale has so many three ball shooters. That makes them difficult to guard. They have guys that can penetrate well and they're extremely good at finishing and finding their kicks to the three," said head coach Mark Miller after the game. "They're a team full of high quality guards that handle the ball very well, so when our full court pressure in the fourth created so many turnovers, it made me extremely proud of our effort and refusal to pack it in and get turbo clocked."
With the win, Glendale has the keys to the Ozark Conference Title. Rolla can still tie for the conference with a win over Waynesville next week and a Glendale loss to Hillcrest.
The Bulldogs have two regular season games left. Before that matchup with Waynesville, Rolla will host Pacific for Senior Night on Tuesday, Feb. 20.