WICHITA, KANSAS – The Rose Hill Rockets have faced adversity this season, having to come back from double digit deficits on multiple times this season.
On Friday night, they did it again.
The Rose Hill Rockets walked into the Upper Gym on the campus of Wichita Collegiate and left with 66-63 win over Class 3A’s No. 1 team, Wichita Collegiate.
“We beat them at their place last year,” Rose Hill head coach Joshua Shirley said. “We knew they were looking for revenge there.”
Koby Campbell led all scorers with 25 points, including 15 in the second half, as the Rockets trailed by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter.
Led by Gradey Dick, the Spartans jumped on Rose Hill 11-1 to start the game but Rose Hill fought back to keep it level for a majority of the contest.
“Starts haven’t been great,” Shirley said. “I thought if we could weather the storm we would be fine.”
It started by getting Campbell going. He hit a big three within 42 seconds left in the first quarter, bringing the Rockets with 13-11, capping a 10-2 run near the end of the first quarter.
Campbell once again helped the Rockets back, this time leveling the game at 18-all with 5:40 to go until halftime.
After Spencer Nolan and Campbell had tied it at 27-27 with just over two to go in the half, Kellan Simoneau, the freshman sharpshooter gave Rose Hill the 30-28 lead with 1:44 to go in the half.
“Most don’t realize he guards really well,” Shirley said. “He’s played at least eight games on the varsity level and he’s been big time for us.”
Collegiate’s Charlie Dunn hit a corner three to give the Spartans a 34-31 lead at the break.
The Spartans dictated much of the second half and it seemed every time the Rockets would try to get back in the game, it was Collegiate who had an answer for their buckets.
Simoneau made a three towards the end of the third, cutting the Spartan lead to 46-42 with 47 second left in the quarter.
Collegiate would respond with a 12-4 run to grab a 58-46 lead with 5:44 remaining and it appeared the Spartans would have the last laugh.
Dick fouled out with 3:32 remaining in a unique way. Dick was assessed his fourth and then was assessed a technical foul, which counts as a player foul, sending Dick to the bench for the remainder of the game.
“That changed the game,” Shirley said. “We did our best to run him off the three-point line all night and make things difficult for him.”
Dick finished with 15 points.
Rose Hill hit four free throws, bringing them within 59-57.
The Rockets would tie it up at 61-all with 1:26 remaining and it appeared it may just go the way it’s gone all game long after the Spartans took a 63-61 lead. Rose Hill ties it up, which happened on many occasions in the game and Collegiate, would take the lead back.
Not this time.
Campbell drove through the lane and was fouled by Thornton Cole. After Campbell completed the old fashioned three-point play, the Rockets led 64-63 with 21.4 seconds remaining.
Nolan capped off the game with two free throws to seal the victory.
The Rockets improve to 6-2 on the season and have won three of their last four. They host Andale on Tuesday for a big-time Class 4A showdown.
“They’re going to be really tough,” Shirley said. “We’ll go out and be prepared to win it.”
Rose Hill – 11; 20; 11; 24 – 66
Collegiate – 15; 19; 12; 17 – 63
Rose Hill: Campbell 25, Nolan 21, Simoneau 12, Vrbas 3, Robledo 2, Bolticoff 2, Witt 1
Collegiate: Dick 15, Colt 10, Goree 9, Fox 8, O’Hearn 6, M. Fair 6, W. Fair 4, Dunne 3, Duarte 2