COLUMBIA — When the game ended and clock struck zero, 18 seconds were put back on. The final score of 50-61 was changed to 62-61, and the players headed back to the court to end the game a second time.
After a second finish, 32 seconds were put on the clock and the score returned to 62-61. The players again stepped onto the court to end the game yet a third time.
The Rock Bridge girls' basketball team often ends its practices with this game of “situations." Friday, the Bruins had the chance to perform it in front of a real crowd — with the bleachers pulled out and referees present for the school's annual Green and Gold game.
The net on one basket was torn and barely attached to the rim. The players were dressed in their practice jerseys instead of uniforms. It was clearly not a real game, but the Bruins treated it as if it were.
Head coach Jill Nagel described the night as a “dress rehearsal” for everyone involved — the officials, score keepers, coaches and players.
“We just came out here to see really what we need to work on,” senior co-captain Lindsey Cunningham said. “You can practice but you can’t really tell until you’re out there playing with real referees.”
The game allowed the team to get some game experience under their belt and get rid of some of the nerves before they face a real opponent, Cunningham said.
At the beginning of the game, those nerves were evident. Not a single point was scored in the first several possessions. Several shots were rushed and missed and the ball was turned over out of bounds.
For freshman Cierra Porter, the game was her first time playing in front of a crowd at Rock Bridge. She she was nervous at the beginning of the game but said it was a lot of fun once she got into the flow of things.
Nagel said another purpose of the green and gold game is to give her some time to observe rather than strictly coach. For most of the game she leaned back in her chair and let her assistants take the lead, something she said she wishes she could do more often in practice.
“You can film it all you want, but getting to sit back and watch it live is something different," Nagel said. “It gives me a chance to view the total package.”
Nagel and Cunningham were impressed with the amount of points the team was able to score. They agreed that being able to score against your own defense is a positive thing, and they were both proud of that.
They both have high expectations for the season as most teams do at the outset but said the scrimmage allowed them to see weak points as well.
“It was definitely one of my top green and gold games in four years,” Cunningham said. “But we’ve definitely got a lot to work on.”