COLUMBIA — Before a season even starts, Jill Nagel knows she'll be watching a lot of film.
Jefferson City, Nixa, Hickman — game preparation goes beyond practice for the Rock Bridge girls basketball coach, and Nagel relies on the film to know the opponent just as well as her own team.
Rock Bridge (14-3) vs. Hickman (16-3)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Rock Bridge High School
“In my opinion, you can never have too much film on anybody,” Nagel said. “There are gym rats, but I’m definitely a film rat and a stat rat. I definitely like to see the (opposing) teams play in person at least once if possible. Then the day before (a game), we have a scouting report that each kid gets with play pages and we watch film and we’ll do a walk-through.”
It must be working. The Bruins are 14-3, ranked No. 2 in Missouri by mosports.com and their average margin of victory is 20 points.
On Tuesday, the Bruins were following this same preparation to get ready for their game against Hickman on Wednesday at Rock Bridge. The Kewpies are also having a successful season with a record of 16-3.
“Anytime you pack the house that makes you a little more excited to get out there," Nagel said. "And when you’re playing your cross-town rival that definitely does it as well."
It’s not a special game just because the Bruins are playing their rivals. With one more win, coach Nagel can say that she has gone three full years without losing at home. But that’s not something that Nagel has been emphasizing to her team.
“That’s a little bit of pressure, I didn’t know about,” freshman Sophie Cunningham said. “I knew we had a pretty good home record, but I didn’t know it’s since 2009.”
Some coaches might be excited to be able to say they have gone as long as Nagel without losing at home, especially with the three-year mark approaching. But Nagel just focuses on each individual game.
“I don’t think about (the streak),” Nagel said. “We want to build a home court advantage so I love it.”
Even with all this added pressure, Nagel’s preparation still has her team prepared like every other game this season.
“I think we all need to go out there and do what we know how to do,” Cunningham said. “I mean the crowd's going to be crazy, so we just need to focus and go out there and try and act like it’s a regular game.”
“It’s the next game on the schedule,” Nagel said. “We prepare to win every game.”