Rolla is looking to progress even further under the leadership of a new head coach in Charlie Parker. Rolla returns four starters and nine players from last season.
Rolla put together a pretty nice resume last season.
The Lady Bulldogs were 24-4 before falling to the Logan-Rogersville Lady WIldcats in the state quarterfinals, tied the Kickapoo Lady Chiefs for the Ozark Conference Championship and they also defeated the Licking Lady Wildcats who placed fourth in state.
Now, Rolla is looking to progress even further under the leadership of a new head coach in Charlie Parker. Parker comes with success, including a district title at Richland High School in the last few years. The coach has a 97-88 overall record.
Rolla returns four starters and nine players from last season. The Lady Bulldogs lost only two players last year in Kianna Garner and Olivia Burken.
“We won the US Bank Holiday Tournament, the Fatima Tournament and the Sedalia Smith-Cotton Tournament,” Parker noted about the team he took over, which also included the Class 4 District 9 championship over Owensville by a final score of 62-60. The Lady Bulldogs took on Osage in sectionals and beat the two-time state quarterfinalists, 42-33. In the quarterfinal game against Logan Rogersville the Lady Bulldogs fell 40-45.
Rolla returns several key players including, Ellie Rodgers, Rebecca Janke, Loran Pritchett, Savannah Cambell, Carli Libhart and Madison Mace.
Rodgers averaged 11.4 points per game, Janke was at 8.07, Pritchett was at 8.75, Cambell scored 9.42 and Libhart had 9.39. That group of five combined for nearly 49 points in each game.
The four returning seniors are Rodgers, Janke, Pritchett and Kate Brand.
“Last season Ellie was named All-State, All-District, First Team All-Conference and KJEL All-Star. She is a huge contributor to our success,” Parker said of Rodgers.
The senior herself is looking forward to the road ahead.
“I am very excited to see how far we will go this season. We have almost our full team back and that will definitely give us an advantage for this year,” Rodgers noted.
Janke, of course, is another Lady Bulldog to watch out for.
“Rebecca Janke was an All-Conference Defensive Team and All-District player. Her impact on the defensive end of the floor is overwhelming to some of our opponents,” Parker noted. “She is one of the key components on the defensive end of the floor for our program.”
Janke is hoping to leave a lasting legacy.
“I think this year will really be a turning point for our program. Any team can have a good year, but to be good many years in a row is how you start to make a name for your team,” the senior said of the team.
Pritchett is a player to look up to as well.
“Loran Pritchett was another All-Conference Honorable Mention, All-District player that will have a huge impact on our success. This young lady’s work ethic and leadership will help drive us to a successful season,” Parker said. “She plays both ends of the floor at a high level and has a great IQ for the game.”
Brand is another senior hoping to make an impact in her final season.
“Kate has put in some time in the offseason to get better,” Parker noted. “Kate has a great work ethic and continues to get better every day. I could see her playing more minutes this year.”
This year, size will help Rolla as the Lady Bulldogs have five girls over 5-foot-11. Janke is 6-foot-3, Pritchett is 6 foot, Cambell is 6-foot-1, Brand is 5-foot-11 and Emma Floyd is also 6 foot.
There are five sophomores who gained experience as freshmen that will take leading rolls this season. Those sophomores include Taniya Corley, Cambell, Libhart, Mace and Floyd.
“Savannah was an All-Conference Honorable Mention and is a returner that I think will have a big season. A year of varsity under her belt and a ton of work in the offseason will help build this young lady’s confidence to make her a huge impact this season,” Parker stated. “She plays good defense, rebounds well and can finish around the basket. Her 6’1” presence will help us inside the paint this season.
“Libhart is a returning starter that I look to have a huge impact this season,” Parker continued. “With her freshman year behind her and one more year of maturity on the court, I think this will give her the confidence she needs to have a great season.”
The last sophomore returning is Mace who was a key player in several games.
“Mace is another returner that I look to have a big impact this year. This young lady may be one of the best on-ball defenders we have,” Parker said.
There are a few games on the schedule the coach is looking forward to.
“Key matchups for us would be Kickapoo and West Plains. In our non-conference schedule we added Rock Bridge which will be a tough game as well as Jefferson City, Sullivan and St. James,” the coach said.
Rolla will begin the season on home court Saturday at the BSN Tip-Off Classic. The Lady Bulldogs will face Columbia Hickman at 5:30 p.m.