MULVANE, Kan. -

Rebounding, defense pushes Mulvane girls over Rose Hill

Mulvane had no shortage of reasons to fight for a win Friday night against Rose Hill.

“It’s a game that we needed a win from,” said Mulvane’s Aubree Burkhart. “It’s a league game. It’s not only just a game – it is our rival game. It’s our first home game of the season.

“We were pumped.”

The Wildcats (4-2) used stifling defense and a keen sense of rebounding to outlast Rose Hill 49-37.

Mulvane outrebounded the Rockets by 22.

“Mulvane was pretty aggressive. I think sometimes we had position, but they just wanted the ball more than we did,” said Rose Hill coach Jenny Page. “We gave them way too many second and third chances.”

The Wildcats led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter after a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from KaSandra Melick. In the second, Rose Hill used a zone defense to bog down Mulvane, winning the quarter 9-4 and cutting the deficit to one heading to halftime.

The break was needed for Mulvane, who made the necessary adjustments.

“We talked about moving the ball around more and using more screens,” said Mulvane’s Destynee Donaldson. “We figured that they would play man, so we knew we’d have to spread out, and then our cuts usually worked when we cut to the corner.”

Rose Hill briefly took the lead after a rebound and putback from Paige Decker, but the Wildcats pulled away late in the third. A 12-1 spurt that started in the third and wrapped into the fourth was capped by a bucket from Burkhart to give Mulvane a 43-30 lead.

“I think it was the momentum of us having a home game, and we actually wanted to finish strong,” Burkhart said.

The defense held Rose Hill to a miserable 23 percent shooting night.

Donaldson provided 16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Wildcats. Burkhart added 16 points and 10 boards.

Kynnedy Myers picked up a double-double for Rose Hill, getting 11 points and 10 rebounds. Autumn Lipscomb tacked on nine points.

Rose Hill’s 0-5 record would suggest a team not ready destined for much this year, but the Rockets are quite competitive. The talent and energy is abundant. The formula has not yet netted a win, however.

“We’re right there,” Page said. “We have to finish some things, and execution-wise – we have to do a better job there.”

Mulvane boys pull away over rival Rockets

Putting your top offensive weapon on the bench is not ideal. Mulvane coach Don Shirley did not have a choice.

Collin Dempsey picked up his third foul early in the second quarter.

“We just had to weather the storm, because Collin is such a big part of our offense,” Shirley said. “We sat him the entire third. Our plan was, as long as we had the lead in the third, we were not going to put him in. I wanted to make sure we had him in the fourth.”

Shirley’s strategy came to fruition.

Gabe Nickel stuck a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to put Rose Hill ahead 14-10, but Mulvane chipped back. Jaden Dulaney hit a triple in the second that put the Wildcats up again, and they led 24-20 at halftime.

The lead kept growing, stretching out to 15 on a Guner Lampe 3-ball in the fourth quarter. That let Mulvane get Dempsey back into the mix – one of the team’s best ball handlers – to fizzle out the clock.

Mulvane won 62-47. Dulaney scored 15 points, and Lampe added 13.

Both squads desperately needed a win heading to the holiday break. Mulvane got one, improving to 2-4. Rose Hill is still searching for it, starting the season 0-5.

“It’s just a hard fought game. I’m happy we played well and finished well,” Shirley said.