Rock Bridge girls basketball team wins own tournament

Saturday, January 21, 2012 | 8:18 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge girls basketball team can call its tournament a success after walking away as champions on Saturday.  

The Bruins won two games in as many days to win the five-team event at Rock Bridge High School. They beat Shawnee Mission South 61-41 in Saturday's title game, a day after escaping Incarnate Word Academy 46-39 on Friday.

Rock Bridge not only earned the championship plaque, but freshman guard Sophie Cunningham also won tournament MVP.

“Sophie played awesome and deserves it,” Bruins coach Jill Nagel said. “Sophie gets it because of how well her teammates played and helped her as well.”

Cunningham, who plays with the poise of an upperclassman, teams up with her older sister Lindsey Cunningham for an impressive duo. Together they have become the leaders of the Bruins on both sides of the ball and were a big part in Rock Bridge winning the tournament. The sisters suffocate opponents with their trap defense while Lindsey runs the offense and looks to Nagel before every defensive play so she can relay each call to the rest of the team. 

“This is Lindsey’s second year to be a co-captain, so she is our quarterback,” Nagel said. “I think being Lindsey’s sister, (Sophie) watched Lindsey be a captain and knows what it takes to lead. So a little bit of that is osmosis.”

However it happened, it is working. The Bruins are 15-3 this season and just one home win away from extending their home winning streak to three years. That one win will have to come from their game against rival Hickman on Wednesday.

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