The Rolla girls basketball team (7-8) wrapped up action in the Smith-Cotton/McDonald's Invitational over the weekend. The Lady Bulldogs blew a halftime lead to fall to Parkview 41-36 on Friday, Jan. 19, which put them in the third place game. Rolla bounced back in the third place game to thump KC Center 70-38.
The Lady Bulldogs dominated the first half against Parkview on the backs of Rebecca Janke and Loran Pritchett in the paint. Janke scored eight points in the first quarter and a total of 10 in the first half, while Pritchett added another eight in the first half. Karlee Cheesman knocked down a pair of threes for six points of her own in the half. Rolla also played stellar defense, allowing just 14 points in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs went into the half with a 26-14 lead.
The offense completely dropped off for Rolla in the second half, as they scored just 10 points after halftime. Parkview, meanwhile, got the scoring bug with 11 points in the third and 16 in the fourth to get a comeback 41-36 win over Rolla.
Janke led Rolla in scoring with 12 points, while falling one rebound shy of a double-double. She also swatted away six shots, had two steals and an assist. Pritchett added 10 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals, while Cheesman also chipped in 10 points to go along with three rebounds.
"We played a tough, efficient first half and were able to build a comfortable lead heading into the locker room. Parkview made some great halftime adjustments and I was unable to find answers to those adjustments," said head coach Luke Floyd. "This loss falls directly on me. Coach Nichols did a great job preparing her girls for the second half and I did not."
After a tough loss on Friday, Rolla turned things around in a big way on Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs got out to a hot start with 21 points in each of the first two quarters, while holding Center to a total of 22 points in the entire first half. Rolla had a ton of chances at the free throw line in the first half, making 18 of their 26 attempts. Five different players scored three or more points in the first quarter, while six different players scored at lead two points in the second. Cheesman scored 11 points in the first half, while Ellie Rodgers scored nine, as Rolla rolled into the half with a 42-22 lead.
Rolla didn't slow down in the third, scoring 22 more points. Rodgers knocked down a pair of threes, to lead Lady Bulldogs in the quarter. Six different players scored for Rolla in the quarter. The Lady Bulldogs stretched their lead out to 64-28 going into the fourth quarter, putting the turbo clock into effect. Rolla slowed things down in the fourth to run out the clock on a 70-38 win.
Rodgers led the Lady Bulldogs with 16 points, while adding a team-high three steals, an assist and a rebound. Cheesman added another 14 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal. Pritchett and Janke each scored 12 points with Janke adding another five boards, two blocks and two assists, while Pritchett adding three assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block. Oliva Burken had a team-high five assists and five rebounds, while scoring five points.
Cheesman and Janke both had strong performances to earn spots on the All-Tournament team.
"Much like the Rolla Tournament, I was very proud of the girls bouncing back after a tough semi-final loss," said coach Floyd. "They set the tempo and pace from the opening tip. Once again our press was able to create turnovers and we were able to get easy baskets in transition. Our ball movement was very good as we had 19 assists on 23 field goals made. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into this week."
Coach Floyd mentioned the Holiday Tournament and Rolla's next matchup will be a rematch of that semi-final loss. The Lady Bulldogs will travel to St. James on Tuesday, Jan. 23.