Rolla defense steps up in sectional win over Osage

By Allen Hilliard (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

The Rolla and Osage girls came into Tuesday’s Class 4 sectional game at Missouri S&T with matching 23-3 records. Rolla would finish the night with the better record after beating the Lady Indians 42-33.

The Lady Bulldogs managed to edge out the Lady Indians 9-7 in the first period of the contest. Rolla shot 44% in the first period to the 30% by the Lady Indians.

“I think this is their third year playing in sectional game and that gave them the experience from the senior laden team. Our game plan in the end was to focus on (Osage’s No.) 22 or 23 and keep constant pressure on them,” Rolla head coach Luke Floyd said about Osage early in the game.

The second quarter was all Rolla, as the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Osage group 10-4 to extend their lead to 19-11 at the end of the first half. Carli Libhart (five points), Ellie Rodgers (four points) and Rebecca Janke (four points) gave the Lady Bulldogs a balanced offensive attack in the first half.

The Lady Indians were led in scoring by Sara Wolf with her six points in the first half. Natalie Wood added five points of her own in the half.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

“We knew to just play our game. The last few days, we have done just what we worked on all season in just getting the ball and pushing it up the floor every time and boxing out,” Rolla’s Lauren Pritchett said.

The teams played to a seven-seven stalemate in the second quarter. Rolla’s strong defense kept the Lady Indians 17 points below their season average in the game. It is a defense made possible by incredible depth.

“It is what we have done all year long. We are a team and we are going to play 8 or 10 people. They bought into that role and they work it to our strength. We are going to continue and play eight, nine or 10 girls out there and keep up the pressure,” Floyd said.

The Osage defense began to pick up the pace of the game in the 4th quarter as they cut the Rolla lead to late in the period to seven points, but free throws helped the Lady Bulldogs ice the game in a 42-33 win to advance to the Class 4 state quarterfinals.

The Rolla Lady Bulldogs will play Logan-Rogersville Lady Wildcats on March 9th at Waynesville High School.

RHS 09 10 07 16 42
OHS 07 04 07 15 33

Rolla (42)
Libhart 14, Rodger 10, Janke 8, Campbell 4, Pritchett 4, Garner 2

Osage (33)
Gamm 10, Good 10, Wood 7, Wolf 6