The Rolla boys basketball team traveled to Smith-Cotton for a Sectional against Grandview on Tuesday, March 6. After a back and forth first half, Grandview came out and shot sank a barrage of threes after halftime to end Rolla's season.
Points were hard to come by in the opening half. Grandview got out to a better start with an 8-2 run, but Rolla was able to recover after the sluggish start. Rolla finished the quarter on a 5-2 run, which included a three from Alec Buhr, and the quarter ended with Grandview holding onto a 10-7 lead.
Grandview's Deandre Sorrells scored the first points of the second quarter when he knocked down an early three, but after that it was all Josh Pritchett. His first big moment came on the defensive end when he swatted away a dunk attempt by Mason Taylor. Pritchett then scored seven straight points to give Rolla a 14-13 lead. He then hit another jumper to extend the lead before Sorrells hit another three to tie the game at 16. Grandview hit one more three in the half, this time from Reginald Morris, but Rolla scored four more points from the charity stripe to finish out the quarter with a 20-19 lead. Rolla scored 13 points in the quarter, 11 of which were scored by Pritchett.
The third quarter is where the game started to slip away from Rolla. Grandview hit three after three to open the half. Mason Taylor knocked down a trio from long range in the third quarter alone, while Jordan Lathon added a three of his own. On the other end, Rolla struggled against a lot of pressure from the Grandview press and mistakes kept coming as Rolla tried to push the pace to cut the gap. Grandview went on to score 24 points in the quarter and went into the fourth with a 43-27 lead.
The deficit was too much for Rolla to overcome in the final quarter. Grandview didn't slow down in the fourth and stretched their lead out to as many as 26 points. Rolla refused to pack it in and kept fighting in the quarter. Pritchett and Buhr each hit threes in the fourth with Buhr scoring seven points in the quarter. Senior Nick Janke fouled out with just under two minutes left and the rest of the seniors were subbed out soon after. Grandview went on to win the game 62-39.
"It's one of those deals where the guys gave everything they had tonight," said head coach Mark Miller after the game. "They executed our gameplan really well, you just have to take your hats off to Grandview. They really took us out of our gameplan in the second half when they were able to simply hit shots and get a bigger lead."
Pritchett finished off his high school career with another stellar game. He scored half of Rolla's points with a 20 point performance. Buhr added another 10 and Coby Martin scored four. Seniors Davie Pound and Aaron Cunningham each scored two off the bench and Janke scored one. Coach Miller praised Pritchett's entire career at Rolla after the game.
"He's a phenomenal player, one of the best to ever come through Rolla High School," said Miller of his senior captain. "I hated that it has to end, because he's a big time player and we've got other guys that are big time players and I'd sure like to keep us keep on playing, but tonight it was Grandview's night and we wish them luck the rest of the way."
This senior class has been a key cog in Rolla basketball for the last four seasons. Rolla had a cumulative record of 89-22 during their four years and that class was a big part of their success.
"They're the winningest group of four year players that we've had in school history. They've won more games than anyone in the history of Rolla High School," said coach Miller. "It's been a lot of fun coaching these guys."