Now Bulldogs have long wait before district tourney begins.
The Rolla High School boys’ basketball team has a mighty long wait before opening defense of its district championship.
However, the Bulldogs sure got a workout in during the final week of the regular season.
After having its school-record 19-game winning streak snapped when a frantic second-half rally fell short at Springfield Kickapoo on Tuesday, Rolla returned to Springfield on Friday to close out the regular season against the high-scoring Glendale Falcons.
And, as expected, the teams lit up the scoreboard.
In a contest that featured 10 lead changes and seven ties, the Bulldogs ended the regular season by hitting 15-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter and beating the Falcons 96-88 in Ozark Conference action.
Rolla, ranked No. 4 in the latest Missouri Class 4 state poll, ends the regular season 23-2 overall and 8-1 in the OC.
RHS fell one win short of sharing the Ozark Conference title for a second straight year, as Kickapoo blasted Waynesville on the road 73-33 Friday to finish 9-0 in the league.
Glendale fell to 14-9 overall and 6-2 in the conference with one league game remaining this week.
Now the Bulldogs have a 13-day layoff between games, as they are the No. 1 seed for the Missouri Class 4 District 10 Tournament, to be held Feb. 29-March 5 at Jefferson City Helias High School. Getting a first-round bye, RHS will not play again until the semifinals on Thursday, March 3, taking on the winner of the No. 4-seed Marshfield vs. No. 5-seed Osage contest.
“Actually I’m kind of looking forward to it,” RHS head coach Mark Miller said of the layoff. “It gives us a chance to work on a lot of things and try to make ourselves better.”
The Bulldogs could probably use a rest after last week’s games. RHS again had to battle hard, trailing by as much as 10 points in the second half.
The two teams split evenly 50 points in the first period. However, Rolla went on a 9-0 run to begin the second period. A pair of three-pointers from 6-3 sophomore guard Josh Pritchett helped the Bulldogs open up a 34-25 edge.
However, the Falcons, behind the impressive 1-2 sophomore guard scoring punch of 6-3 Monty Johal and 5-11 Jordan Walton, chipped away and had their deficit down to four at halftime, 46-42.
The Falcons sprinted into the lead in the third period, taking as much as a 10-point edge in the quarter. The Bulldogs closed the third quarter with a hot stretch of their own, and a jumper by 5-10 senior guard Kobe Wands at the buzzer tied things up at 75 going into the final period.
With both teams in deep foul trouble, much of the fourth period was spent at the free throw line.
As usual, that was a good thing for RHS.
With Glendale holding a 85-83 advantage, Wands drained a trey to give the Bulldogs a 86-85 advantage with 1:10 remaining.
Rolla kept the lead at the free throw line where it produced 15 points in the final period, including nine from Wands.
“We just kept battling,” Miller said. “We got in foul trouble early on and had to be careful defensively. Part of what we wanted to do was speed them up. We had trouble doing that.
“It was a good way to finish the regular season and be prepared for the postseason.”
According to Miller, it was the first time the Bulldogs ever defeated the Falcons in Springfield.
Wands erupted for a career-high 39 points - including an 18-for-21 performance at the free throw line - to power Rolla while 6-4 senior guard Logan Short added 15 points, 6-4 senior forward Sam Marshall 14 points and Pritchett 12.
Johal nearly matched Wands, scoring 37 points, while Walton chipped in 25 for the Falcons.
Glendale won the junior varsity game 81-62. Glendale jumped out to a big lead in the jayvee contest, going up 23-13 after one period and 49-29 at halftime. It was 61-48 heading into the fourth quarter.
Freshman Alec Buhr had 19 points and junior Brandon Cunningham and freshman Coby Martin each had 10 for the Rolla jayvee squad, which ends the season 15-6 overall and 5-4 in the conference.
Rolla 96, Glendale 88
Rolla (23-2, 8-1): Wands 9-18-39, Klossner 0-1-1, Pritchett 4-2-12, Brown 3-0-6, Burns 1-0-2, Short 3-8-15, Marshall 6-1-14, Janke 2-3-7, Totals 28-33-96.
Glendale (14-9, 6-2): Helm 5-0-12, Johal 14-7-37, Baker 1-4-6, Walton 9-5-25, Call 0-3-3, Sachs 2-1-5, Totals 31-20-88.
Glendale 81, Rolla 62
Rolla (15-6, 5-4): B. Cunningham 4-0-10, Klossner 2-0-5, Buhr 8-0-19, Martin 4-2-10, Riedle 1-0-3, Prather 1-0-2, A. Cunningham 2-0-4, Douglas 2-0-4, Pound 2-1-5, Totals 26-3-62.
Glendale: Marsh 1-0-2, Peck 7-3-22, Davis 4-6-15, Johnson 1-1-3, Ahlstrand 2-0-4, Metivier 8-16-32, Hirsch 1-1-3, Totals 24-27-81.