Five returning seniors have provided Rose Hill’s girls basketball team with a formidable core of players this season. Add to that a talented group of underclassmen, and the Rockets’ undefeated mark is understandable.
Rose Hill (9-0, 3-0 AV-CTL IV) used a balanced scoring attack Friday night to pull away from a 12-8 lead after one quarter and cruise past a young Collegiate squad 56-23.
The Rockets shared the basketball well, almost taking turns at fueling the offense.
Senior guard Mackenzie Herman scored six points in 57 seconds near the end of the second quarter, giving Rose Hill a 28-14 lead. The Rockets outscored the Spartans (3-4, 2-2) 18-6 in the period.
“She’s definitely aggressive,” Rockets coach Greg Welch said of Herman. “She sat out Tuesday (against Clearwater) with an ankle injury, and we definitely missed her.
“She kind of makes us go a little bit. She’s aggressive all the time, and she really puts pressure on other teams.”
Leading scorer Anna Van Driel took over in the third quarter, scoring seven of the Rockets’ 12 points in the period, stretching the lead to 42-20 entering the final quarter.
From there, 6-foot-2 senior post Kylie Woods scored six points in the first 2:22 of the fourth quarter, which was played using a running clock.
“Anna Van Driel has been our leading scorer, but after that, we’re pretty balanced,” Welch said. “It’s hard for other teams to focus on any one thing. If they worry about any one kid too much, we’ve got plenty of kids on the floor who can put the ball in the basket.
“We had four girls get all-league or some sort of postseason award (last year), and all those girls are back. We start a fifth senior, who was here last year and played for us some. Eleven of our 13 letterwinners are back.”
Welch said the Rockets hit their stride in the pivotal second quarter.
“Our depth kind of wears on them, we were trying to speed the game up, and eventually we figured they weren’t going to be able to keep that pace up,” he said. “We could get out in transition a little bit, and that held true.”
Collegiate, already down three players because of the flu, had to play all underclassmen, led by sophomore Abby Waddell’s eight points. Two baskets by Waddell and two from junior Kennedy Brandenburg kept Collegiate within four points in the first quarter.
“We know Rose Hill is a good team,” Collegiate coach Jeff Skar said. “We’re a little short-handed. We’ve got three kids home with the flu, and two of them (Kirby Krumsick and Maddie Reed) are starters. We had some kids who had to step up and shoulder the burden when they haven’t had to do it yet.
“They gave me everything they had. We battled, but just kind of run out of steam.”
COLLEGIATE: Waddell 8, Brandenburg 6, Bell 6, Chappell 3.
ROSE HILL: Van Driel 12, Simoneau 9, Herman 8, Woods 7, E. Adler 4, S. Adler 4, Yardley 4, Mundy 3, Ma 3, Cunningham 2.