FLUSH — Some stagnant offense and a big game from Rossville’s Taylor Kirk helped spell defeat for the shorthanded Rock Creek girls’ basketball team as they dropped a 47-37 decision to the Bulldogs Thursday night.
Kirk, a force in the paint all game, scored six of her game-high 15 points in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter to end a late Rock Creek surge and help seal the win for the Bulldogs (10-10, 4-6 Mid-East)
With Rock Creek (5-15, 2-8) going inside for one final push, the Mustangs, down seven, kept a possession alive with two offensive rebounds before freshman point guard Morgan Feldkamp hit a cutting Alli Snapp for a short jumper to pull them within six at 41-35 with 5:00 left to play.
The ensuing Mustang possession saw Feldkamp draw a foul on another offensive rebound. She hit her first free throw, and when she missed the second, Rock Creek’s Winter Henry snatched the rebound and gave the Mustangs a chance to make it a one-possession game.
The Rossville defense held though, and Kirk put the game away with back-to-back scores inside to make it 45-36 with 2:00 left as Rossville left town with the win.
“We hung in there at the end, but Rossville just has the ability to score the basketball better than us,” Rock Creek head coach Mike Zabel said. “Particularly (Kirk), she was the difference.”
The Mustangs, who were without leading scorer Sarah Altenhofen due to illness, kept pace with the Bulldogs early. Feldkamp hit two 3-pointers and scored eight of her team-high 13 points in the first quarter as the two teams played to a 12-12 tie through one period.
“(Feldkamp) is just solid,” Zabel said. “She’s played so much basketball growing up. She’s helped us win our five games this year. Without her I’m not even sure how many we would have won.”
The Bulldogs’ defense would hold Rock Creek to just 14 points over the next two quarters. Meanwhile Rossville used a 17-2 run to turn a 15-12 Mustang lead into a 12-point Rossville advantage. Heidi Nitsch capped it with a 3-pointer to make it 29-17 Bulldogs with 1:30 before halftime. They would lead 31-19 at the half.
The third quarter saw the Mustangs hold Rossville to just seven points in the quarter, and freshman Jayden Weers helped hold Kirk scoreless for the period.
“We changed to a junk defense,” Zabel said. “Chased her inside, and chased their point guard outside. When you do those things it either doesn’t work or works really well”
Henry hit an inside bucket with contact and the Mustangs trailed just 33-24 with 4:51 left in the third quarter. Rossville responded with back-to-back buckets to grab its big lead of the game at 38-24 with four minutes left before Weers scored on a put-back to end third quarter at 38-26 Rossville.
Rock Creek travels to Silver Lake on Tuesday for a game against the Eagles to open sub-state. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.