COLUMBIA - Senior forward Jordan Dressler and junior guard Ricky Kreklow stepped into leadership positions early Tuesday night in the Rock Bridge-Springfield Central boys’ basketball game.
But although the two scored a combined 27 points in the first half, Springfield Central upset No.1-ranked Bruins 66-65. It was Rock Bridge's (21-1) first loss.
Rock Bridge initially controlled the fast-paced match-up, pressuring Springfield turnovers and dominating rebounds. The team capitalized on Springfield's foul trouble late in the second quarter, increasing its lead to 37-29 at halftime.
But Springfield Central (22-2) entered the second half aggressively, immediately forcing Dressler into foul trouble. With Dressler absent with three fouls, Springfield Central scored eight consecutive points. With seconds remaining in the third quarter, Springfield Central pulled ahead for its first time 48-44.
“He’s a huge aspect to our team,” Kreklow said about Dressler’s absence. “There are just so many parts of his game that help us.”
With a packed Rock Bridge gym crowd on its feet, the teams faced an intense final eight minutes. Free-throw shooting ultimately determined the game. Rock Bridge shot from the line 20 times, converting 12, while Springfield Central made 14 out of 17.
Rock Bridge could not overcome its third quarter performance. Springfield Central handed the Bruins their first loss with a game-winning basket at the buzzer.
Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon claimed his team struggled with rebounding, missed free-throws and communication on defensive.
“In a game like this somebody has to step up,” said Scanlon. “They just wanted it more than we did.”
Kreklow was philosophical. "We can really take this loss and learn from the experience to better ourselves later this season," he said.
Rock Bridge will play again Friday at home against Kansas City Central.