COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge girls basketball team spent much of the past week going over defensive rotations. After Saturday’s 54-37 win against visiting Lafayette, it was clear the players were paying attention.
The Bruins (15-4) continuously hounded Lafayette (11-7) on defense, forcing several turnovers and fast break opportunities. Bruins coach Jill Nagel liked what she saw.
“I really thought that the kids did a great job of taking what they learned in film and putting it into play on the court,” she said. “And, of course, that’s what you like to see.”
The defense was especially effective in the first half, allowing just 16 points after two quarters. The commitment on the defensive side of the ball is something coach Nagel has instilled in her players.
“Defense is our foundation,” Nagel said. “We’ve really been focusing on moving together on defense.”
The Bruins got 12 points from forward Hannah Dressler. She helped spark the Bruins' victory in the second half with her rebounding and second chance points.
“She’s our leading rebounder,” Nagel said. “So that’s not surprising to see her hitting the boards.”
Co-captain Lindsey Cunningham also scored 12 points and consistently found holes in Lafayette’s defense.
“They kind of played the same defense that we played, so we were able to recognize that and find the openings,” Cunningham said.
Paula Cunningham, Lindsey Cunningham's mother, was vocal with support from the stands. She used to play basketball when she was in high school and likes what she is seeing from the Bruins.
“They are very athletic,” Paula Cunningham said. “It’s different from when I used to play with the way they get out into transition and everything.”
Paula Cunningham accompanies Lindsey Cunningham to every game, along with other family members.
“Both my parents, my sister and both my grandparents come to every game,” Lindsey Cunningham said. “It’s awesome. I know whether I’m having a good game or a bad game. They’ll be there, and they’re not afraid to tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
The Bruins led 24-16 at halftime. After scoring 17 in the first quarter, the Bruins hit a scoring snag in the second quarter, mustering only seven points.
“We called a timeout, and I asked the kids if anyone had the keys to the lid because it was like someone put a lid on the basket,” Nagel said.
The second half featured some crisp ball movement from the Bruins. Open looks were passed for better looks.
“We did a nice job of moving the ball, rotating it from side to side, and we forced Lafayette to defend us all across the court,” Nagel said.
Players, coaches and fans wore pink in honor of the Pink Zone game. The color was chosen to help raise awareness for breast cancer research. Several girls dressed in pink shirts walked around the stands with buckets collecting donations. Pink Zone T-shirts were also passed out by cheerleaders.
The Bruins travel to Webster Groves on Tuesday to participate in the Webster Winter Challenge.