Experience key in Rock Bridge win over Kirksville

Friday, February 1, 2008 | 10:22 p.m. CST; updated 12:09 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

COLUMBIA- The Rock Bridge girls basketball team overcame a sluggish first half on Friday night to defeat visiting Kirksville by the score of 62-50.

Katherine Harry led No. 8 Rock Bridge (16-6) with a team-high 17 points.

“She means a great deal,” said Amaya Williams, a sophomore guard for the Bruins. “She blocks shots, rebounds and makes the defense collapse on her, which leads to outside shots.”

Leading 16-8 after the first quarter, the Bruins essentially fell apart in the second. Timely three-point shooting from the Lady Tigers and the Bruins’ inability to take care of the ball led to a 26-24 halftime deficit for Rock Bridge.

The Bruins made some adjustments at halftime that turned the game around.

“We really felt it was the execution of lay-ups,” Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel said. “We were getting great looks and the guards were doing a good job of getting it into the post. We just couldn’t finish.”

In the second half, the Bruins experience paid dividends. Ten out of 11 players on the Rock Bridge squad are either seniors or juniors. And with the game remaining close midway through the third quarter, the Bruins started to pull away.

“We need to get those close games under our belts,” Nagel said. “We felt that down the stretch we had ‘been there, done that.’ We knew that we were physically and mentally stronger.”.

Williams, the Bruins’ second-leading scorer, provided a nice spark off the bench in the second half. She didn’t play until the third quarter due to tendonitis in her left knee that has limited her playing time.

“She normally starts. We are trying to rest her,” Nagel said. I felt like we needed a spark and she can provide that. It looks like it didn’t hurt her too much.”

Williams said that sometimes a little change helps the team, and that when she is out there playing tough defense her team usually follows.

The Bruins’ pressure, trapping-style defense forced Kirksville into 16 turnovers.

The loss ends Kirksville’s (11-8) two-game winning streak. The Lady Tigers were led by Sadye Wichmann’s game-high 18 points.

Rock Bridge has a week off before they travel to face St. Teresa’s Academy on the road next Friday night.

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