It had been over a half decade since the last time the Rossville girls basketball team had moved past the first round of sub-state.

EmmaMitchell1Junior Emma Mitchell (left) scored a game-high 23 points as Rossville rolled to a 66-14 Class 3A sub-state win over Perry-Lecompton Monday night. [File photo/TSN]

But on Monday night, the Bulldawgs didn't just survive and advance; they decimated Perry-Lecompton on their home court in a first-round Class 3A sub-state contest.

Rossville (15-6) played about as good as a basketball team can in its dominant 66-14 victory.

It was so good that Rossville coach Michael Bell was greeted by a joyous team dumping him with water when he met with the squad after the game.

"I thought we played extremely well today," Bell said. "I thought it was one of the best first halves that we've played in a long time. I'm very happy that we've moved on. It's been a while since we got out of the opening round. We had a great crowd tonight; they were amazing.

"I told the girls in the locker room, 'Yes, everybody is here, and you have eight teams, but you don't know the real feeling until you get to the host site.' They know they have four other teams with a different crowd."

Getting that dark cloud of not surviving the first round of sub-state was important for Rossville. Last Tuesday Rossville snapped a nine-game losing streak in double-overtime to Rock Creek, and six days later, they end a six-year winless postseason draught.

Rossville believes the sky is the limit this postseason, and the Bulldawgs want to take advantage of every moment they can.

"This is our first time in high school that we passed the first round of sub-state, so it feels great," Rossville junior Kinsey Perine said. "We need to keep the energy up. We have a lot of energy right now and need to keep this going."

Offensively, the varsity rotation as a unit blasted Perry-Lecompton. The varsity rotation played three full quarters and rested in the fourth quarter. Despite the early night off, Rossville managed to tally 61 points before the final quarter.

"We've had stretches of great offense but not for that extended amount of time," Bell said. "I haven't seen them quite play like that, and I am glad we are doing it right now. You want to peak at this point. But we know this is just one game. We could miss every shot tomorrow or forget how to tie our shoes, but right now, we played well, and hopefully, we can build on that for Thursday."

A 16-0 run became a 21-2 run. Then Rossville's 21-2 run became a 31-3 run. At the halftime break, Rossville had an enormous 42-3 lead.

One of the critical catalysts for the offense to click so well was the play of junior Emma Mitchell, who had a game-high 23 points.

Mitchell was overly impressive from the mid-range. Despite the heavy traffic in Perry-Lecompton's zone, Mitchell's shots fell easily with Kaw defenders in her face.

"Whenever the drive was open, I shot it; whenever the three was open, I shot it; I just needed to take my shots when I felt comfortable doing so," Mitchell said. "I put the work in, and those kinds of opportunities just open themselves up for me the more I practice."

Along with Mitchell's offensive production, other Dawgs pitched in, making the rout over the Kaws possible.

Freshman Rylee Dick collected 12 points, while Perine and junior Katie Spielman each had nine.

Although the Kaws had a significant advantage with their height, it didn't stop the Dawgs from efficiently driving in the paint. Mitchell, Dick, Spielman and sophomore Shyanne Haehn attacked the zone often.

Defensively, it took Perry-Lecompton 21 minutes and 39 seconds for the Kaws to get a field goal.

"Our defense full-court or backcourt was very strong," Bell said. "Defensively, this was one of the best games I've ever been a part of. The girls played really good defense. It seemed like every pass was contested. Our rotation on our press (defense) was very good, and we rebounded well. Overall, it was great."

Perine showed why she's considered one of the top ball thieves in the state, compiling a game-high four steals. Mitchell had three steals, while Dick, Haehn and junior Kinley Porter had two swipes each.

"I thought I played well and flew around on defense," Perine said. "Flying around helps my team out in the long run. We can push the court, force layups and run the clock when we do our thing on defense."

Bell's mission was to force as many turnovers as possible against Perry-Lecompton and force the Kaws to escape Rossville's hounding, full-court, pressure-filled defense.

"Forcing turnovers is the key because (Perry-Lecompton) is big, and they play a really good zone, too," Bell said. "We haven't been the strongest team against the zone this year. We know for us to take advantage of what we are strong at, such as getting the ball out quick on offense and also pressure in the full-court, would let us get easy baskets off of turnovers."

Rossville's memorable six-day stretch can be cherished and celebrated, but Bell wants his team to be ready for the next game. This team has lived by the 'one game at a time' motto all season long, and they want to keep sticking to that.

"It truly is one game at a time right now," Bell said. "I'm happy that we moved on, but this is just one game for us."

Rossville will head to the host site, Perry-Lecompton, on Thursday for the semifinal round of sub-state. Rossville will play the winner of No. 2 Olathe-Heritage Christian Academy (15-4) versus Jefferson West (5-15).


Perry-Lecompton 2 1 7 4 – 14

Rossville              21 21 20 4 – 66

Perry-Lecompton (7-14) – Bartlett 0-0 0-0 0, Thayer 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan 0-0 0-1 0, Metcalfe 0-6 0-0 0, Damme 3-10 2-2 10, Nally 0-2 1-4 1, Battram 0-1 1-4 1, Aldrich 0-0 2-4 2, Schrimsher 0-1 0-0 0, Gray 0-2 0-0 0. Totals – 3-23 6-14 14.

Rossville (15-6) – Perine 3-6 2-4 9, Mitchell 8-13 5-6 23, Porter 2-4 0-0 4, Dick 6-15 0-0 12, Spielman 4-6 1-4 9, Haehn 2-4 1-2 5, Horgan 1-3 0-0 3, Sanders 0-1 1-2 1, Hubble 0-1 0-0 0, Foster 0-4 0-0 0. Totals – 26-53 10-18 66.

3-point goals – Rossville 4 (Mitchell 2, Perine, Horgan), Perry-Lecompton 2 (Damme 2). Total fouls – Rossville 16, Perry-Lecompton 12. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.