COLUMBIA—Hitting the road is nothing new for the Rock Bridge Bruins.
To prepare for each roadtrip, Director of Basketball Operations Mike Yoakum folds warm ups, puts medical bags together and makes sure that everything is done to prepare for Rock Bridge goes on the road.
“We basically do everything so the coaches and players can focus on the game,” Yoakum said.
Rock Bridge hopes its two-hour trip to Union today isn’t its last road trip of the season. The No. 7-ranked Bruins play No. 6 Fort Zumwalt South at 7:45 p.m. The Rock Bridge girls basketball team plays at 6 p.m.
“We don’t care if we have to travel two days to play a game,” Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said. “We’re just lucky to be playing.”
Traveling two hours for a game is nothing new to the Bruins(24-2) who have traveled over an hour to 14 of their 26 games. For the players, the long trip offers a chance to relax and focus on the game without being distracted.
“I’m a sleeper and I listen to music,” senior guard John Worley said. “I listen to lots of Little Wayne and Heart of a Champion.”
The Bruins travel in style, taking charter busses on long road trips to Kansas City and St. Louis. Parents provide meals to take on the bus while the players can relax and watch a testosterone-filled movie like “Gladiator,” “Transformers” or even previous games.
“We’ve watched ‘Hoosiers’ a lot,” Worley said.
One place Rock Bridge is happy not to be traveling to is St. Francis Borgia high school in Washington as they have lost the last two sectional games there.
“No one liked that place,” Scanlon said. “I’m glad to get away from there.”
One of the losses was to Fort Zumwalt South(23-3) last year. One player that Rock Bridge will recognize from last year’s game is Bulldog senior 6-foot-6 guard Josh McCoy, who is averaging 19.7 points per game according to STLtoday.com. Watching film this week, the Bruins focused on what McCoy does and how to stop him.
“It’s gonna be really hard to shut him down because he’s a really good player,” Worley said. “I’m going to slow down his output so he doesn’t get as many chances as he would usually get.”
It will be hard to miss McCoy and his curly brown Afro as it was on Sunday when McCoy and his coaches scouted the Bruins. McCoy, who was honored as an All-State player last year, scored 17 of his team’s 19 points in the fourth quarter in Fort Zumwalt South’s 60-58 Class 5, District 9 championship game win. McCoy loves driving to the basket and drawing extra fouls by leaning into the defender.
“The kid just does everything,” Scanlon said. “He rebounds, he scores, he penetrates.”