Freshman uses height to help Rock Bridge girls' basketball team

Sunday, December 5, 2010 | 7:52 p.m. CST; updated 8:58 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 5, 2010
Dribbling past Blue Springs junior center Azia Washington, left, Rock Bridge freshman guard and forward Bri Porter tries to gain two points for the Bruins. Rock Bridge fell to Blue Springs 48-34.

COLUMBIA — Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall, Bri Porter isn't difficult to notice when she plays for the Rock Bridge girls' basketball team. She is the tallest player on her team by two inches.

During the Bruins' 48-34 loss to Blue Springs on Sunday in the Norm Stewart Classic at Columbia College, the freshman's height advantage over opponents was clear. The Wildcats' tallest player was 6 feet tall.

Going up for rebounds with both arms fully extended, Porter could clutch the ball safely with opponents' outstretched hands only reaching to her elbows or forearms.

In the first quarter, Porter pounced on a rebound off a teammate's free throw and put it back for layup. On the Bruins' next possession, Porter again grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw, this time fighting for it on the ground.

Porter makes it easier for her teammates when she's around the rim.

"We can give her passes that most people wouldn't catch and she's able to control them and go in for layups," junior guard Lindsey Cunningham said.

She may be new to the Bruins, but Porter is used to using her height to her advantage. 

"I've just always been taller than everybody," Porter said. "It's always been helpful."

Porter is listed as a guard and forward for the Bruins, and is versatile enough to fulfill both roles, according to Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel.

"She's a little bit more of a guard than a post [player]," Nagel said. "That's why we try to float her out to the 3-point line when we can. We have her inside some, too, out of necessity. When you're four inches taller than your opponent, you need to take advantage of some of those things." 

Porter, who estimates her wingspan is greater than height, can jump and grab the rim. She's working on taking that to the next level. 

"It's my goal to be able to dunk by the end of this year," Porter said.

Rock Bridge (3-1) and Blue Springs were tied at 11 at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats went on a 17-to-five run to start the second quarter and led the rest of the game. Cunningham led Rock Bridge with 12 points.

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