Bryce Swafford knew for his Rolla High School girls’ basketball team to knock off Dixon Tuesday night, RHS was going to have to keep two-time all-state guard Hunter Yoakum under wraps.
Instead, it was Yoakum who tied Rolla up in knots.
Yoakum poured in 38 points – including a 15-for-16 performance from the free throw line – to power Dixon to a 65-53 non-conference victory at the RHS gym.
Yoakum hit for 11 points in the first period, including a pair of three-pointers, to help Dixon build a 22-8 advantage. Rolla was fighting from behind the rest of the way.
“Dixon came to play; they were excited to come out and play us,” said Swafford, Rolla head coach. “They played harder than we did. Give (Dixon head coach Butch O’Riley) credit for getting them ready to play.”
Dixon, now 7-2, pulled out to as much as a 19-point lead in the first half when Yoakum hit a pair of free throws at the 3:40 mark to make it 34-15.
Rolla trailed 37-21 at intermission.
RHS attempted a second-half comeback, going on a 14-3 run to open the third quarter. And back-to-back three-pointers by senior forward Andrea Zalis and junior guard Shannon McCaul cut the Dixon lead to 40-35 at the 2:38 mark of the third period.
Dixon scored the final three points of the third period to take a 45-37 edge into the fourth quarter. Yoakum’s driving layup to open the fourth-quarter scoring upped the Dixon margin back to 10 points, 47-37.
Yoakum made a steal and converted a layup with 5:00 remaining to give Dixon a 13-point advantage, 55-42.
Rolla, now 4-3, would trail by at least nine the rest of the game.
“We played a lot better in the second half and made a nice push,” Swafford said. “But then we hit another blank spot. They hurt us at our own game; they beat us in transition.”
Zalis finished with 18 points to lead Rolla while junior forward Gabe Otte added 12 points and sophomore forward Emily Cates 10.
Dixon connected on 25-of-33 free throw attempts while Rolla hit just 5-of-11 from the free throw line.
No junior varsity game was held due to a lack of healthy players for Dixon.
Rolla is now off until it hosts the US Bank/Rolla High Girls’ Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-29 at the RHS gym. Rolla plays Warrensburg at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 27 in first-round action.
Dixon 65, Rolla 53
Rolla (4-3): McCaul 1-0-3, Blackburn 1-0-3, Otte 4-3-12, Collier 0-1-1, Cates 5-0-10, Zalis 7-1-18, Neal 3-0-6, Totals 21-5-53.
Dixon (7-2): McMillian 1-0-2, Whitaker 2-2-6, Purcell 3-2-9, Yoakum 10-15-38, Ray 1-6-8, Campbell 1-0-2, Totals 18-25-65.