Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon’s vision for defense came into focus Sunday.
The Bruins dominated Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame 55-40 at the Show-Me State Games Shootout at Mizzou Arena with incredible defense.
The Bruins, coming off an impressive title run at the William Jewel Holiday Classic, held the lead for most of the game and forced the Raiders into 20 turnovers. Scanlon said defense, something he said the Bruins have been working on all season, was key to the victory.
“We know the importance of a good defense,” he said. “That is why we have been putting out efforts in getting that down. Once we figure that out, the shots will just drop on their own.”
For sophomore Logan Gray, those shots dropped at just about every opportunity. Logan led the Bruins with 16 points on 7-of-11 field goal shooting and had four rebounds.
Senior Terrell Turner scored 14 points and had seven rebounds.
Rock Bridge, ranked No. 6 in the state by the Associated Press, shot 59 percent in the first half and 50 percent in the second.
“We really don’t have any big point leaders,” he said. “So to see them come out this strong was just great for us the entire game.”
The Bruins performance at the William Jewel Tournament bolstered them against the Raiders. The No. 1 seed Bruins defeated No. 2 seed Blue Springs on Dec. 30 to win the Patterson Division title.
That tournament, Scanlon said, tested his team and gave them confidence.
“We really had come into a good swing after that tournament and we saw it here today,” he said.
The Bruins enjoyed a 33-19 halftime lead against the Raiders. That strong start kept the Bruins in the game against the Raiders (16-1). Both Turner and junior Alex Austin sank 3-pointers for the Bruins. Turner led the team in the first half with 10 points and four rebounds, and Austin added seven points.
“We came out so strong that we just were able to hold them off even in the second half as they started hitting some shots,” Scanlon said.
Lucas Cramsey led the Raiders in the second half with 14 points and two rebounds, hitting two 3-point shots after Bruins turnovers.
But the Bruins defense prevailed, and Rock Bridge scored nearly 20 points off steals and Raiders’ turnovers, of which Cramsey made four.