Defense Locks Up Rolla In Second Half

Sullivan rallied Tuesday against Rolla, but rather than a surge, the Lady Eagles slowly drained their opponents over the second half.

Trailing 32-26 at halftime, Sullivan regrouped with an impressive stand and won 51-42 in new head coach Jordan Flora’s debut.

Rolla streaked ahead with a 21-point effort in the second quarter, but went feeble and scored just 10 points in the final two quarters.

Mallory Shetley scored 10 of her game-high 23 points in the second half. She did a little bit of everything for the Lady Eagles, pulling in 11 rebounds, blocking five shots, dishing four assists and recording two steals.

Her free throws helped Sullivan put Rolla away in the final minutes. 

Vittoria Polawnoski had 10 points, while Riley Lock added six points, five rebounds and five steals. Hanna Johanning, Katie Creek, Rylee Denbow and Kya Harbour all had three points.

The Lady Eagles’ new-look lineup battled through a tough shooting night to overcome a potential district opponent.

Sullivan shot just 37 percent from the floor as they searched for a rhythm. Tuesday’s victory was an indication that even without a hot shooting touch, the Lady Eagles can scrap their way to a win. 

The offense did have its moments early. Lock and Polanowski both had 3-pointers in the opening minutes. Polanowski stepped up for a long 2 in the corner to give Sullivan a 10-4 lead.

Shetley’s 3 with 1:02 extended Sullivan’s lead to 15-9. She missed the free throw on a three-point play at the 29 second mark and gave the Lady Eagles a 17-11 advantage after one quarter.

Sullivan struggled to take care of the ball in the second and Rolla stepped up their efforts on offense. The Lady Bulldogs cut the lead to two 40 seconds into the period after two straight Sullivan turnovers. 

Ellie Rodgers’ 3-pointer gave Rolla an 18-15 lead. Emma Floyd also drained a trey. Following another fast break bucket to build up a 23-17 lead, Sullivan called a timeout. 

The Lady Eagles went without a field goal until just the two minute mark when Shetley drove into the lane. 

Denbow added a 3 with 90 seconds left to make it 27-24 Rolla. She was matched on the other end by Savannah Campbell. Sullivan went into the half down 32-26.

The deficit reached eight on Kianna Garner’s jumper, but Sulivan responded with an 10-0 run. Polanowski had a 3, then came down and knocked down a soft jumper. Creek tied the game with 3:07 left in the quarter on a 3-pointer. Shetley put the Lady Eagles back on top with 48 seconds left. Rolla knotted the game at 38-38 with a basket by Olivia Burken.

Shetley had a pair of free throws to start the fourth quarter and Sullivan never trailed again. Rolla twice cut the lead down to two. Taniya Corley’s 3-pointer with three minutes left made it 43-41 Sullivan. The Lady Eagles wouldn’t allow another field goal from there. 

Sullivan Independent News

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