The Rolla girls basketball team (19-2, 6-0 OC) keep their hot streak rolling when they traveled to Camdenton on Thursday, Feb. 7. The Lady Bulldogs got out to a hot start and never surrendered their lead for their 18th straight victory in an 87-76 win.
Rolla set the tone with an excellent first quarter. The Lady Bulldogs spread the ball around with six different players scoring in the opening frame. Loran Pritchett led the way with six points in the quarter, while freshmen Carli Libhart and Savannah Campbell each added four. The Lady Bulldogs sprinted out of the gates with 20 points in the quarter, while holding Camdenton to 13 points for an early lead.
The Lady Bulldog offense stayed hot in the second, as a total of seven players scored in the quarter for Rolla. Ellie Rodgers knocked down a three on the way to five points in the second, while Kianna Garner, Campbell and Libhart each scored four. The Lady Bulldogs scored 23 points in the quarter, but Camdenton was able to keep pace in the quarter. The Lady Lakers scored 20 points of their own in the quarter on the back of eight points from Elle Turner and a pair of threes from Darby Roam. Despite the big quarter from Camdenton, Rolla was able to extend their lead to 44-33 heading into the half.
Rolla kept rolling in the second half, but Camdenton wouldn't go away. Natalie Basham kept the Lady Lakers within striking distance with 11 points, but Rolla maintained their lead with another good quarter. Campbell continued her strong play in the post with another six points, while Pritchett added four. Rolla scored another 18 points in their quarter, stretching their lead out to 61-49 heading into the fourth.
The Lady Bulldogs put the game away with a spectacular fourth quarter. Rolla had their highest scoring quarter of the game with 26 points thanks to great free throw shooting. The Lady Bulldogs were 14-22 from the charity stripe in the quarter and 25-34 for the game, shooting at a clip of 74 percent. The clean shooting from the free throw line held off a late push from Camdenton in an 87-76 win.
"We got in a track meet with them and we were successful doing that," said head coach Luke Floyd after the win. "We have some speed to go with our size, so that was an okay matchup. We knew coming in that we were going to have to take care of the basketball. We had more turnovers than I would've liked, but overall I thought the girls did a good job. Every time Camdenton would go on a run and I think they cut it to one in the first half, we were able to counter it with another run of our own and stretch it back out to 10 or 12 point mark."
Rolla did an excellent job of spreading the ball around all night long. Four Lady Bulldogs ended the game in double figures, while two more players fell a point short. Campbell led the way with 21 points, Libhart added 16 points, while Rodgers and Pritchett each chipped in with 14. Rebecca Janke and Garner each scored another nine points. Madison Mace added another four points. Coach Floyd liked seeing so many players contribute in the win.
"We're a very unselfish team," said coach Floyd. "We look to find the open man, but also our guards do a great job of penetrating, finding our posts and getting it to them. Then when the posts get doubled, we do a great job of kicking it back our to our guards and they're able to knock down the outside shot. We're at our best in transition. We do a good job of getting defensive boards, getting outlets to our guards and our bigs and guards all run the floor really well."
Rolla had their hands full all night long. The speed and pressure from Camdenton provided a couple of scares, as the Lady Lakers cut the lead to one in the first half and made another push at the end of the game. Bashman led all scorers with 32 points and was a consistent thorn in Rolla's side, but Coach Floyd was impressed with how his team adjusted to the constant pressure.
"They're just relentless. They're going to attack you full court defensively and they try to wear you down mentally," said coach Floyd on the Camdenton defense. "There's times we did wear down and we'd turn it over two or three times in a row and it would lead to a run for them, but overall our girls are just focused on fundamentals. Work on meeting the pass, square up, passing over the top of the pressure to attack on the back side. When we were able to do that, we were able to score pretty well.
"I give great credit to Camdenton for never quitting, they made us play 32 minutes," continued the Rolla head coach. "I thought our girls just did a great job of adjusting and answering every run they had for us."
The win pushes Rolla's win streak to a staggering 18 wins. This is the longest streak for the Lady Bulldogs under coach Floyd and the head coach is glad to see his girls see their hard work pay off.
"It's been a long time coming, but the girls are working really hard and this is just a reward for their hard work," said coach Floyd. "We're not through yet. We've got tough conference games left to go and Districts still to go, but I'm really proud of the girls and the effort they put into it and I hope they continue to see the success and the rewards for it."
The Lady Bulldogs' closing stretch in the Ozark Conference continues on Monday with a trip to Kickapoo.