Rose Hill survives 3-point onslaught to win

LIonel Tipton

MULVANE – Rose Hill’s girls entered Friday’s game with an 8-6 record, while Mulvane had struggled and came in 3-11. 

But the Wildcats hit six three-pointers and took Rose Hill down to the game’s final seconds, before the Rockets escaped with a 38-37 victory.

Mulvane senior Kaitlyn Klein was fouled with two seconds left and Mulvane trailing 38-35. Rose Hill coach Jenny Page called timeout to try to ice her.

Klein made the first. It’s common strategy to intentionally miss the second free throw, in hopes of a rebound and a tying stickback. 

Klein sank the second, and the Rockets were able to burn off the final two seconds and prevail.

Mulvane coach Doug Evers said afterward that he believed Klein was trying to miss the shot, and it happened to fall.

“The goal was to miss that last one,” he said. “Again, (the shot) hit the front of the rim, but it crawled in. So, yeah, the object there was to miss that and put our two bigs in and hopefully get a rebound and a putback. So that was the intent, and she made the free throw, so it just didn’t quite work out.”

A relieved Page said she was surprised that Klein made both free throws.

“We called a timeout, thinking if she made the first one, she was going to try to miss the second one,” Page said. “So we were talking about that, make sure we got a good rebounding position. We lucked out that she made it, and we were able to get the ball in pretty quickly.”

The Rockets got an early taste of how determined Mulvane was going to be when Klein hit two three-pointers in the first quarter, and the Wildcats then went ahead 8-7 on a layin by freshman Teagan Garrison with 1:16 left in the period. 

But Rose Hill came back and regained the lead on a three-pointer by Lexie Rose and a Haley Thrush layin, ending the quarter with a 12-8 lead.

The Rockets (9-5) outscored Mulvane 7-2 opening the second quarter, but a Wildcats 7-0 run made the halftime score 19-17.

The third quarter was a sloppy one, as the teams combined for 12 turnovers in the period, which ended with Rose Hill ahead, 28-22.

“This is the first time I think that we’ve looked nervous,” Page said. “We just came in knowing that every win we get before sub-state is crucial. I think they looked tight.

“We would get a lead, then we’d have a turnover and let them get a shot, or (we) wouldn’t play great defense.

“So, there were mental lapses (Friday night) that really hurt us.”

Rose had six of Rose Hill’s 10 fourth-quarter points, but two three-pointers from Klein and one from junior Kamryn Nolan kept the Wildcats close.

Aspen Goetz, who scored 20 points Tuesday in a home victory over Augusta, was plagued by foul trouble all night and fouled out by fouling Klein with the two second left to play. Goetz managed just four free throws Friday night.

“Even if she’s not hitting a shot, she’s just a defensive person for us inside,” Page said. “And when she’s not in there, Haley’s the only one in there.”

Losing Goetz also meant losing one of Page’s better free-throw shooters.

“That hurt, and we were trying to milk that clock until we could figure out when we could put her back in,” Page said. 

But Rose Hill’s three other senior starters – Rose, Thrush and Korryn Hackney – rode to the rescue, combining for 27 of the Rockets’ 38 points.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Page said. “It was ugly, but at least we’ve got the ‘W’ on top of that, and it’s much better to come into the locker room feeling like that.”

Rose Hill girls 38, Mulvane 37

Rose Hill 12;7;9;10 – 38

Mulvane 8;9;5;15 – 37

ROSE HILL: Rose 2(1) 4-8 11, Hackney 2(1) 1-2 8, Thrush 3 2-4 8, Lee 1(1) 0-0 5, Goetz 0 4-4 4, McCulloch 1 0-0 2. Totals 9(3) 11-18 38.

MULVANE: Klein 0 (4) 3-4 15, Garrison 3 2-4 8, Kanaga 2 0-2 4, Williams 0(1) 0-0 3, Nolan 0(1) 0-0 3. Totals 7(6) 5-10 37.