Rock Bridge’s Ashley Dressler looks like a senior, plays like a senior and composes herself like a senior.
She is only a freshman.
With her pseudo seniority in full effect, Dressler, a backup center, led the Bruins to a 53-39 victory against Marshall on Friday night at Rock Bridge.
In an ugly game that featured 44 combined fouls and numerous turnovers, Rock Bridge’s inside trio of Dressler, Ashley Stanfill and Melissa White shone brightest and helped the Bruins (5-15) dictate the pace of a game in which they never trailed.
Game won in the paint
“(Our inside players) seemed strong and that’s where we thought the battle would be before we came out,” Rock Bridge coach Bob Plourde said. “We wanted to stick with the inside game.”
Dressler, who finished with 17 points and four rebounds, used a variety of moves to fake defenders. She also found herself the recipient of easy layups thanks to passes from guards Ashley Guy, Rachel Jones and Keiyana Austin.
“Our team really tries to get it inside,” Dressler said. “Coach just wants us to go up strong and we set up plays that can work it inside.”
“We really just tried to isolate Dressler and did a good job of getting her the ball and she did a good job of executing,” he said.
The Owls (5-14) needed to resort to fouling post players. The Bruins shot 8-of-11 from the free-throw line.
Marshall's defense created suspense
Rock Bridge led 39-25 in the fourth quarter before Marshall’s half-court press caused the only suspense. Its stifling half-court press caused seven turnovers and enabled the Owls to pull within 44-37 with 2:17 left.
“Any press will give us problems because that starts dictating the pace and we don’t have the discipline to come down and execute,” Plourde said. “We have a bad problem communicating. When one bad thing happens, we crash so hard to make up for it we make three or four other boneheaded plays.”
Dressler didn’t allow Marshall to come closer, though, for she scored the final five Rock Bridge points, including a steal and easy layup to clinch the victory with 11 seconds to go.
“Both teams were playing real aggressively,” Marshall coach Jeff Martin said. “I think the difference was their size, but we matched their intensity level.”
Dressler has more to prove.
“Being a freshman is really hard because everyone says that you’re not going to be any good and you’re not going to do anything,’’ she said. “I’m just trying to get it going.”
The Bruins used a stingy 2-3 zone defense and an occasional half-court press to shut down Marshall and limited it to seven points in the third quarter.
“We knew that they had great outside shooters and we didn’t want to let them get open,” Plourde said. “We slowed them down by showing a zone and then going into man.”
Rock Bridge jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter with six points from Stanfill, who left in the second quarter with a medial collateral ligament injury. A layup from Marshall’s Melissa Cook was it’s first basket and broke a five-minute scoring drought.
Rock Bridge post players combined for 32 points; White finished with nine, and Stanfill added six.
The Owls’ Nicki Erickson led the team with 11 points.