COLUMBIA — When the Bruins win, they win big.
In its first home game of the season Saturday, the Rock Bridge girls' basketball team defeated St. Joseph-Lafayette 69-16. The win improves the Bruins to 4-1.
The 53-point victory is the team’s largest yet, but it doesn’t come as a surprise. Since the season began, the Bruins have defeated Althoff Catholic by 50 points, Troy Buchanan by 35 and Rolla by 34.
Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel said she knew her team would be ready Saturday after suffering its first loss last Sunday to Blue Springs at Columbia College.
“It’s been a long week,” Nagel said. “Not in terms of any punishment we’ve had for the girls because of a loss, but just losing doesn’t set well with us. Fortunately, we try and limit how many times that happens. We were ready to get back out on the court and play somebody different.”
Not only was the team ready to move past the loss, but also to continue their home court tradition. The Bruins are coming off of back-to-back undefeated home seasons and haven’t lost a game on their own floor since Jan. 31, 2009.
No matter the situation, the Bruins came ready to play. According to junior guard Mackenzie Skrabal, this game was no different than any other.
“We always have the same mindset every game,” Skrabal said. “It doesn’t matter what team we’re playing. It doesn’t matter what the score is, as long as we play hard."
In the last seconds of the game, Skrabal hit a 3-point basket to tally the last points for Rock Bridge. As soon as the ball went through the net, her teammates on the bench jumped up and applauded her.
Nagel emphasized that the win was a team effort. Before the end of the first half, every player for Rock Bridge had checked into the game, and by the end of the game, all but one of them had scored.
“It’s good when you can spread it out like that,” Nagel said of the team’s scoring.
The big wins early in the season have allowed some of Rock Bridge’s younger players to gain some experience that will help later. Nagel said that the team is already 10 players deep and she expects the point spread and playing time pattern to continue throughout the season.
“We get a lot of people a lot of minutes regardless of what the situation is,” Nagel said. “That’s hopefully what’s going to help us down the stretch, being able to wear people out with our bench.”
The Bruins will look to continue the pattern Monday on the road against Wildwood-Lafayette.