The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 1, 2014

Rolla dominates after halftime to deliver JHS first league loss

Rolla’s change of tempo in the third quarter led to a 24-5 run, and the Bulldogs defeated Joplin 60-46 in an Ozark Conference contest Friday night at Young Gymnasium.

The Eagles limited Rolla to just four field goals in the first half and took an 18-14 lead into halftime, but Joplin was unable to recover from Rolla’s second-half surge.

“We talked about tempo and shot selection at halftime,” said Rolla head coach Mark Miller. “Joplin was dictating what we were doing. They have good man-to-man pressure. When that happens, you have to run your stuff well, and we did a much better job of that in the second half.”

Kobe Wands, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, led Rolla with 14 points, including seven of eight free throws. Caleb Copeland, a 6-4 junior, added 13 points.

Senior guard Charlie Brown led Joplin with 20 points. Senior center Spencer Layne scored 10 points.

As the second half began, Rolla’s Shane O’Brennan scored on a 3-pointer, then stole the ball and scored on a layup that gave Rolla its first lead 19-18. After Brown scored on a driving layup, Rolla took the lead for good with an 8-0 run.

“The third quarter was a repeat of how we did against Central,” Joplin head coach Jeff Williams said, referring to the Eagles’ 48-46 loss Tuesday night.

Rolla’s largest lead was 48-31 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds remaining. Even though Rolla made 14 of 16 free throws in the last 21⁄2 minutes, the Eagles pulled to within 56-46 after a 3-point play and a 3-pointer by Brown and Layne’s basket on an offensive rebound in the final minute.

“We cut it to 10 after a miserable third quarter,” Williams said. “It’s February now. I told the guys how quick this would come along. We’ll see what we can do.”

Joplin (11-6, 2-1 Ozark Conference) will face Springfield Parkview at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a conference matchup at Young Gymnasium.

After Rolla (12-5, 1-1) scored on an off-balance 3-pointer as the third quarter ended, Joplin cut the lead to 38-27 on layups by Brown and Carlos Santillan. The Eagles scored just two field goals in the next 51⁄2 minutes as Rolla rebuilt its lead.

“We were trying to switch (defensively) midset a lot of times,” Miller said. “We try to shake it up a little bit and give them different looks. Our problem in the first half was the shots we were getting were in the paint, but they weren’t out of our offense.”

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