The overtime drama that highlighted two earlier meetings this season between Rose Hill’s girls and Wellington never surfaced Tuesday.
Rose Hill made sure of it.
Pushing out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, the Rockets withstood one late charge by Wellington before finishing off a 49-33 victory in AV-CTL IV.
Anna Van Driel scored 14 points and Mackenzie Herman added 11 for Rose Hill (15-2, 7-0), which gained a sweep of the teams’ league matchups after falling to Wellington 55-52 in double overtime at last month’s Haven tournament.
“I didn’t really notice the score,” said Herman, who scored 10 first-half points as Rose Hill built a lead as large as 19 points. “I just noticed we were playing really well together. It never really worried me because we were doing what we needed to do.”
Rose Hill, No. 5 in the Class 4A-I coaches rankings, held No. 8 Wellington to 26-percent shooting, forced 15 turnovers and outrebounded the Crusaders 35-28. It led to a game far unlike Rose Hill’s 44-42 overtime victory at Wellington in December or the midseason tournament quarterfinal duel.
“We just tried to speed the game up a little bit early on and we were successful,” Rose Hill coach Greg Welch said. “The first two times we played them, we didn’t press at all. We just tried something different and we were lucky it worked.”
Herman cut through Wellington’s defense for six points in the final three minutes of the first half as Rose Hill led 31-16 at the break. But she felt the Rockets’ influenced the game defensively with their 2-3 zone.
“They didn’t hit as many shots and one thing we scouted them on is their shooters,” Herman said. “We came out and played together. It’s been happening ever since the tournament.”
Wellington’s leading scorer, senior Lauryn Snipes, scored 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Snipes had 29 points, including a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, against Rose Hill at Haven.
“For whatever reason, we were lacking energy,” said Wellington coach Eric Adams, whose team fell to 12-5 and 4-3. “It was shocking to our coaching staff. … They got us tonight. They whipped us.”
Still, Wellington made a final push, cutting a 38-24 deficit after three quarters to 40-33 with 3:08 remaining. But Rose Hill center Kylie Woods, who pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, countered with a three-point play to start a 9-0 Rocket run to end the game.
While Rose Hill gained the upper hand in the season series, a fourth meeting between the teams looms in the sub-state tournament, which the Rockets will host in early March.
“We all know each other and it’s just about playing,” Welch said. “We can make adjustments and all that, but players have to make plays.”