Rock Bridge boys say they're not looking past anyone

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | 8:31 p.m. CST; updated 9:00 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon talks to his players during practice Tuesday. The Bruins start the postseason against Holt on Wednesday.

The best can be beaten, and they can be beaten any night.

This is a lesson the Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team has learned the last couple of weeks. After being, 21-0, the Bruins lost two of their final four regular season games and finished 23-2. The Bruins lost to Springfield Central High School by one point and Helias High School by two points.

“It’s probably good because now we have experience in playing close games,” senior center Jordan Dressler said. “In these games, you can learn the things you have to do to win them.”

Rock Bridge’s goal is a state championship. To achieve this, the Bruins have to learn how to win those close games. The Bruins have made it to sectional play the last three seasons and have lost in sectionals all three times. Before they can think about a fourth-straight appearance, they have to focus on getting there. In order to get there, they cannot lose another game.

“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong (in the team’s losses), and that could happen any night,” senior guard Skylar Tolson said.

The Class 5, District 9 tournament started Monday and Rock Bridge will have its first game against Holt High School (12-15) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Holt. Rock Bridge defeated Holt last season 55-27.

“Considering we lost our last regular season game, the idea of looking past anyone is laughable,” Tolson said.

Dressler said, “It will be a factor just having their fans there. They’ve improved from last year, so we’re in for a dog fight. We want to take it a game at a time. Every team’s goal at the start of the season should be to win a state championship.”

Rock Bridge’s offense has improved from last season, but their defense is not as good. Coach Jim Scanlon noted this as being the main problem over the last couple of weeks.

“We won’t win any game if our defense isn’t there,” Scanlon said. “We’ve talked about it all season. I can’t control offense. I can control defense.”

Rock Bridge is favored to win the district tournament and is definitely a state title contender.

“Every night is a championship game and you always have to be on top of your game,” Tolson said.

In Wednesday night's other district game at Holt, Hickman faces Troy Buchanan at 7 p.m. The winners of Wednesday night's games play at 7 p.m. Friday at Holt.

“We just have to win tomorrow,” Scanlon said. “I’m more worried about tomorrow than anything else right now.”

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