The Rolla girls basketball team hosted Eldon for the first round of Districts on Saturday, Feb. 24. Rolla took an early lead and never looked back in a 58-41 win.
The Lady Bulldogs got out to a great start in the first quarter on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Rolla held Eldon to just five points out of the chute and buried them on the other side of the ball. Karlee Cheesman singlehandedly outscored the Lady Mustangs with seven points in the opening frame, as Rolla went into the second with a commanding 14-5 lead.
Rolla only expanded on that lead in the second. While they didn't score as much, the Lady Bulldog defense held strong, holding Eldon to just seven points. Cheesman and Kiana Garner each scored four points in the second and Rolla rolled into halftime with a 24-12 lead.
The Lady Bulldogs put the game away in the third quarter. Eldon was again held to just seven points in the quarter, while the Rolla offense exploded for 18. Cheesman knocked down a pair of threes to lead the way with six points, while Loran Pritchett and Ellie Rodgers each chipped in another four. The Lady Bulldogs carried a 42-19 lead into the final quarter.
Eldon made a push to get back into the game with 22 points in the fourth quarter, but the Rolla lead was too large. Rolla put up another 16 points in the final frame to finish off a 58-41 win.
Cheesman led Rolla with 21 points to go along with three steals and two rebounds. Loran Pritchett added eight points, five rebounds and a steal. Garner and Mattie Dean each chipped in six points with Garner adding eight rebounds, a block and a steal, while Dean added four rebounds and a steal. Rebecca Janke had two points with team-highs in rebounds with nine and blocks with five.
The girls played a solid game. Eldon did a great job of packing in their defense and taking away our size advantage. I thought our guards, especially Karlee, did a great job of looking for their shots and knocking them down," said head coach Luke Floyd. "Defensively we did a great job on the Halderman girl in the first half, but allowed her to get to the free throw line too many times in the second half. It’s exciting to get that first District win and now we are ready for a rematch with Helias."
Rolla will host Helias on Monday, Feb. 26 for the District Semi-Final. Helias beat the Lady Bulldogs 76-53 back in January.