HALSTEAD, KANSAS – The Garden Plain Owls used a 15-2 run in the second quarter to separate themselves from the Rose Hill Rockets and Rose Hill never could get over the hump to complete the comeback.

Garden Plain beat Rose Hill 73-61 in the first round 50th annual Adolph Rupp Tournament on Monday night.

The Rockets fall to 7-4 on the season and now have dropped two-of-three games over their last three games.

A full court press caused issues for the Rockets early and often. They struggled getting it into the middle of the court and into quality shot opportunities.

“We didn’t have the same energy we typically have,” Rose Hill head coach Josh Shirley said. “I don’t feel like we had that early and they jumped on us.”

Freshman Kellan Simoneau hit a three on Rose Hill’s first possession, giving the Rockets a 3-2 lead. It would be their only lead of the game.

Garden Plain would jump out to an 8-3 lead quickly on easy cuts to the basket and turnovers forced on the press.

The Owls started to separate themselves late into the first quarter as the turnovers piled up and Rose Hill failed to hit shots.

The Rockets never seemed to get the shots to fall and they came easy and often for the Owls. As the lead started to increase, the Rockets couldn’t buy a basket.

“We’ve had some sluggish starts before,” Shirley said. “It was one of those nights it wasn’t there for your team, in terms of energy.”

Rose Hill went more than five minutes without a bucket and during that time, Garden Plain saw their lead increase to as many as 17 in the first half.

The Rockets closed the half on a bit of a run but still trailed 39-23 at the break.

Things changed a bit in the second half. Asa Vrbas drained a three and Koby Campbell scored, forcing a Garden Plain timeout with 7:11 to go in the third. The Rockets had climbed within 39-28.

Their intensity was turned up and their defense was feeling it. The Rockets played tough and with much more confidence than in the first half. They were able to climb back, cutting the lead to 45-39 with 4:28 to go in the third quarter.

What a sequence for Rose Hill. Garden Plain killed the clock but fantastic on-ball defense from Spencer Nolan. The quality defense led to a turnover and a Rose Hill bucket as the Rockets trailed 54-45 after three quarters.

“He’s our energy guy on the floor,” Shirley said. “His offense comes because he plays so hard on defense.”

Then, Garden Plain became more aggressive on both ends, frustrating the Rockets. The fouls were turned up and the frustration reached a point where Shirley picked up a technical foul. The two free throws by the Owls increased the lead to 13 halfway through the fourth.

Senior Trent Barnhart hit a three with 1:43 remaining, bringing the Rockets within nine. A bad turnover under the basket pushed the lead back to 11 after the Rockets had a stop and a chance to bring the lead down to a two-possession game.

Campbell led the Rockets with 25 points, including 19 in the second half. Simoneau had 33 points for the Rockets.

Tyler Dreiling led the Owls with 22 points.

The Rockets were without Mason Lane, who was out of town on a football recruiting visit since schools were not in session on Monday.

Rose Hill will get the loser of the Haven-Winfield game.

“If we can lock in with the same energy we did against Collegiate, we’re going to be a great team,” Shirley said. 

Rose Hill 12; 11; 22; 16 – 61
Garden Plain 21; 18; 15; 19 – 73

Rose Hill: Campbell 25, Vrbas 13, Simoneau 11, Nolan 9, Barnhart 3
Garden Plain: Dreiling 22, A. Rex 12, Pauly 12, M. Rex 8, Smith 7, Mannebach 6, Haukop 4, Thomas 2