There was one thing Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon made sure his team knew before it left the halftime locker room; the first three minutes are the most important time of the second half.
The team responded with a defensive intensity that sparked a 62-43 victory against St. Charles on Tuesday at Rock Bridge High.
“We go as our defense goes,” Scanlon said. “The kids went out and did what I asked.”
Leading 23-14 at halftime, the Bruins (13-5) extended their lead thanks to the play of their defense and junior guard Terrell Turner.
Rock Bridge outscored the Pirates 15-6 in the third quarter and held them without a rebound.
Turner scored the Bruins’ first points of the second half with a 3-pointer. On the Pirates’ next possession, Turner’s half-court pressure forced a steal and resulted in a layup.
After forcing another Pirate turnover, Turner found sophomore center John Stull for an easy basket. That started a 10-0 Rock Bridge run to start the second half. The Bruins’ pressure held the Pirates (6-13) scoreless until the 2:23 mark of the third quarter.
“We thought if we could come out there and jump up on them real quickly in the third quarter, then we could put the game away,” Turner said. “I set the tone and then (my teammates) figure they’d better do it too.”
Sophomore guard Marco Brown complemented Turner’s third-quarter play. Brown scored six of his nine points in the quarter, shooting 2-for-2 on 3-pointers.
Turner finished with a game-high 16 points, and senior guard Will Jackson scored 12. Senior forward Rob Adams added nine points and six rebounds.
“We were more energized in the second half,” Adams said. “Our team defense started swarming to the ball and forced a lot of steals and we held them at 14 for quite a while.”
Adam Henningsen paced St. Charles, scoring 13 and grabbing seven rebounds. Reserve Nick Roth added 12 points and seven rebounds.
“I thought they came together as a group,” Scanlon said. “I think our teamwork and togetherness is good, and that’s why we’re where we are.”