SHARPSVILLE – A big second quarter provided all the momentum Rossville needed in staking its claim on the Class A Sectional 54 title against Carroll at Tri-Central Saturday night.
The Hornets outscored the Cougars 22-12 in the second period, pushing a 13-12 first-quarter edge to an 11-point, 35-24 advantage at the half that dipped below double digits on just a few occasions the rest of the way. Rossville finished with a 61-45 victory for the sectional title.
“We didn’t get off to a very good start,” Rossville coach Dave Mosson said. “They were running a 3-2 zone and it took us awhile to adjust. Once we did, I thought we got a lot of good looks.”
After connecting on just 5 of 15 field goals over the first eight minutes, Rossville (16-8) shot a sizzling 69 percent (9 of 13) over the next eight minutes, including 2 of 3 from downtown.
After Carroll (12-12) went up 17-15 on Brandon Dillon’s hoop two minutes into the second frame, Rossville strung together a 20-7 run to close out the half as the Cougars only got four shots off the rest of the quarter.
“They did a really good job defensively of going to the 1-3-1,” Carroll coach Matt Weaver said. “That slowed us down on the offensive end and took away our ability to post up and run our high-low. When they do that they force you to make shots. They made it difficult for us to get the ball where we wanted. We just weren’t able to get shots.”
That trend continued in the second half as Carroll connected on just 1-of-10 attempts in the third quarter. Rossville didn’t fare much better, shooting just 3-of-9 from the field in the period, but it was still good enough to push the Hornet lead to 13 points, 41-28, heading into the fourth quarter.
Rossville’s lead continued to balloon over the final eight minutes as the Hornets used the clock and knocked down 13-of-17 free throws down the stretch.