COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge boys basketball team only trailed for 1.4 seconds of their semifinal game against Chaminade, unfortunately it was the final 1.4 seconds.
The Bruins led by 21 after the first period and by 18 going into the fourth period, but were outscored 29-10 in the fourth period, falling to the Red Devils 66-65 in the semifinals of the Class 5 state championship.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said. “I don’t remember ever losing a game where we pretty much had control of it. Give them credit. We kind of self-destructed. Really, we led to our own loss. We were our own worst enemy.”
That lead kept getting smaller and smaller for the Bruins. The momentum clearly belonged to Chaminade. The game seemed secured, but hot three-point shooting by the Red Devils helped spur their comeback.
Rock Bridge vs. Oakville
When: 11: 45 a.m. Saturday
Where: Mizzou Arena
Radio: KTGR/1580 A.M.
“We had the game won after that third quarter,” Bruins senior guard Skylar Tolson said. “I felt comfortable going into the fourth quarter. “
With 1.4 seconds remaining in the game, Chaminade's Bradley Beal made the first free-throw, but said he intentionally missed the second to run more time off the clock. With less than one second left in regulation, Jordan Dressler inbounded the ball from the Red Devils sideline to Ricky Kreklow at the Bruins' three-point line.
“He (Kreklow) caught the ball in front of me, and I knew he had to turn around,” Beal said. “He couldn’t put it on the floor, so I knew once he went up I was going up.”
The Red Devils spent the first six minutes of the fourth quarter chipping away at the Bruins' lead. Jim Scanlon's squad had built its advantage and controlled the pace when it went inside. But in the final period, the Bruins committed five turnovers and missed critical jumpers that would have stemmed the tide.
No turnover was more critical than the one by the Bruins' Ricky Kreklow, who had the ballen stolen from him by Chaminade's Bradley Beal at mid-court as the Bruins tried to set up their offense with under a minute to play. Jordan Dressler fouled Beal as he went in for the layup.
The play came 30 seconds after Chaminade's Luke Bumgarner made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 65.
Before the climatic finish, the teams seemed to trade uniforms every other quarter. The Bruins were in control during the first and third quarters, but Chaminade controlled the second and fourth periods.
An 11-0 run to end the first quarter was capped off by a 3-point shot by Bruins guard Matt Kelly, who played more than usual because of Justin Miller’s early foul trouble.
In the second quarter, the Red Devils went on a late 10-1 run in the final four minutes before the half to cut into Rock Bridge's lead. Chaminade’s Brendan Kelly, who scored six points, and Brandon Lockhart finished off the half after a missed jump shot by Daniel Gross with a tip-in as time expired, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 34-26.
Like the first quarter, the third quarter belonged to the Bruins. Justin Miller took the helm as the Bruins built a 15-point lead to open the second, scoring nine points and dolling out two assists. The third ended with Travis Ward pitching a beautiful pass to senior forward Briton Rudd, who emphatically dunked the ball and stretched the lead to 18 points.
Rock Bridge seemed to have the momentum, but could not hold onto it.
The Bruins had two chances to maintain control of the final possession, but turned the ball over on both tries. Chaminade took advantage of rushed passes.
Sophomore Brendan Kelly led the Red Devils with 21 points and scored the decisive three-pointer, which tied the game at 65. The Red Devils had two straight unsuccessful three-point shots, but the Bruins could not grab a defensive rebound, which resulted in the game-tying basket.
After the block, the harsh buzzer blared and reality set in. The Bruins championship hopes ended.
Scanlon said he believes when the postseason gets this far, the tem who wins was the one who was destined to win. After the fourth quarter, it definitely appeared destiny was in Chaminade’s favor.
“First and third quarters, I thought maybe it was for us,” Scanlon said. “But after what I saw them do in the fourth quarter, I think they were destined to win it.”