By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Last season, Rolla finished with an impressive 24-4 record, including a thrilling, 63-62 victory over Helias Catholic to capture a district championship.
The Bulldogs fell in the sectional round to eventual state champion Grandview.
Head coach Mark Miller enters his 11th year at the school looking to replace four seniors and two starters.
Rolla’s graduated seniors include Nick Janke, Aaron Cunningham, Davie Pound and Class 4 all-state selection Josh Pritchett.
“The leader of our team,” Miller said of Pritchett. “He scored more than 1,000 points during his career. Lead us in scoring, assists, free-throw shooting and 3-point shooting. One of the best ever to play at Rolla””
Pritchett is continuing his basketball career at Kansas City Rockhurst, Janke is participating in track and field at Missouri S&T and Stowe is playing baseball for Harris Stowe in St. Louis.
A trio of senior starters return for the Bulldogs, including 6-foot-2 all-district selection Alec Buhr (14 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg), 6-foot Coby Martin (8 ppg, 2 rpg, 2.5 apg) and 5-foot-9 Blaize Klossner (6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2 apg).
6-foot junior Muluken Pritchett (2 ppg, 1.5 rpg) also returns for Rolla.
A host of Bulldogs will be battling for a starting spot. They include 5-foot-9 junior Colby Shivers, 6-foot-2 junior Jack Hounsom, 6-foot-4 sophomore Danny Foster and 6-foot-5 sophomore Trey Brown.
6-foot-2 junior Benjamin Colench and 6-foot sophomore Connor Joyce will both be battling for varsity minutes, as well, according to Miller.
For Rolla to be successful this season, it must navigate a difficult conference and district schedule that includes the likes of Kickapoo, Parkview, Waynesville and Glendale, among others.
“All of our opponents in the Ozark Conference are big games,” Miller said. “The past four years, Helias has been our championship game opponent in district play. We’ve split with them.”
The Bulldogs open the season Nov. 17 in the Key Sport Tip-Off Classic in Rolla.