Few teams shoot the basketball the way that the Rolla Bulldogs can and Hillcrest found that out first hand.
Rolla (13-1) scored 75 or more points for the ninth time this season, knocking down 10 3s on its way to an 82-47 Ozark Conference win at Hillcrest on Tuesday night.
It was the first time the two teams have met since Hillcrest ended Rolla's season in last year's Class 4 Quarterfinals.
“Last year is last year and we have a completely different team,” said Rolla coach Mark Miller. “One of our goals is to win a conference championship and we looked at this as the second step to us reaching that goal.”
The Bulldogs scored 10 of the game's first 11 points. Their lead grew to 15-3 midway through the first half with Zach Brown scoring eight and Nick Janke adding seven.
“We are very diversified in what we can do,” said Miller. “We have a big guy (Janke) stepping up in the paint and he’s been solid for us. We have weapons on the perimeter and several guys that can hurt you.
Rolla outscored Hillcrest 44-19 during the second and third quarters with senior guard Kobe Wands scoring all 14 of his points during that span.
Brown finished with a game-high 15 points including three 3s. Senior Logan Short scored all 13 of his points in the third quarter, part of a 25-point outburst by Rolla.
The Bulldogs now step out of Ozark Conference play for the next two weeks before resuming their bid for a conference championship on Jan. 29 at Joplin. Rolla’s most pivotal stretch of conference play will be at the end of the season, visiting Kickapoo and Glendale in the final week of regular season play.
After sharing the OC crown with Kickapoo last year, Rolla is eager to in the title outright.
“It doesn’t really matter who it is in the Ozark Conference you’re going to get a game,” said Miller. “Every night you’ve got to be on your game or bad things can happen. I’ve got a group of guys that really enjoy the game, they work hard and they love to play together and we’ve found some success because of that.”
Hillcrest (2-9) continues to find itself in its first year under Joel Brown.
Following a win of Class 4 contender Aurora last Friday, Brown was disappointed with his team’s effort, but understands that it is all part of building a program and molding a roster that includes four sophomores and two freshmen in the rotation.
“The consistency that we’re working for isn’t there yet,” said Brown. “My assistant Jordan Bailey says that it’s part of the process and at times the process isn’t fun but it’s not about building just for this year. We aren’t just trying to get through one season, we are trying to put together some continuity and develop a program. We are laying that foundation of hard work and right now it’s about teaching kids how to bounce back from adversity.”
Rolla 82, Hillcrest 47
Rolla 19-19-25-19 – 82
Hillcrest 9-10-9-19 – 47
Rolla: Brown 15, Wands 14, Short 13, Janke 9, Pritchett 7, Marshall 5, Burns 5, Klossner 4, Grooms 3, B. Cunningham 3, A. Cunningham 2, Briggs 2.
Hillcrest: Powell 6, Pryor 6, Freeman 6, Washington 6, Sydnor 5, Duke 4, Weaver 4, Podurgiel 4, Terry 3.