Every time the Mexico Bulldogs turned around Tuesday night, there was a Bruin in their face.
The tough defense of the Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team helped it fight its way to a 68-56 victory at Rock Bridge.
Mexico stayed close for the majority of a game the Bruins had expected to dominate. Rock Bridge runs at the end of each half were the difference.
Rock Bridge (15-7) pulled away in the fourth quarter after leading 49-48 with seven minutes left.
The Bruins outscored Mexico 19-8 for the rest of the contest and were able to take advantage of foul shots after being put in the bonus with 3:13 left.
Mexico trailed 47-43 at halftime, but made big shots throughout the third quarter to stay close.
Despite the win, Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon was not pleased with his team’s play.
“It was a poor performance by us,” Scanlon said. “I give Mexico a lot of credit. They were probably better than us and deserved to win.”
Sophomore forward John Stull’s play was crucial in the Bruins’ final run.
Stull outmatched Mexico around the basket, scoring eight of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter and grabbing nine rebounds in the game.
“It was my career high, my season high so far,” Stull said. “But it wasn’t my best game because my defense could have been a little better.”
Stull said the team was disappointed with its defensive performance, an area it relies on.
Freshman Logan Gray and senior Rob Adams had solid performances for the Bruins with 15 points.
Adams also added nine rebounds.
Gray scored 10 in the second quarter, helping the Bruins go on a 11-0 run that ended with 3:08 left in the half to make it 30-19.
Although Mexico (4-15) penetrated the Bruins’ pressure in the first and third quarters, the defensive intensity became too much for the Bulldogs at end of each half.
Mexico came close to taking the lead numerous times, but coach Scott Floyd said the Bruins’ pressure prevented them from mounting a serious run.
“I think we just wore down,” Floyd said. “Not necessarily physically, but mentally it wears on you to have someone in your face all the time.”