The Rock Bridge girls’ basketball team is learning how to win. Thursday night’s 42-41 victory against No. 6 Boonville, though, could be the Bruins’ toughest lesson so far.
Clutch shooting by Rock Bridge standout Ashley Dressler and a missed last-second shot by Boonville’s Lisa Simmons combined to give Rock Bridge its third consecutive win against a ranked opponent. The home victory moved Rock Bridge to 13-2 overall and 1-0 in District 10 after last season’s 6-20 record.
It was also the second time in six days the Bruins beat the Pirates. Rock Bridge defeated Boonville in the final of the California Tournament on Friday.
Played in front of a spirited crowd split between Rock Bridge and Boonville fans, the game didn’t produce a free throw until the final four minutes.
It was free throws, though, that almost lost the Bruins the game.
Freshman point guard Claire Schaeperkoetter missed two free throws in the final 10 seconds that would have iced the game for Rock Bridge, which led by as many as 10 points in the first half.
Boonville grabbed the rebound off Schaeperkoetter’s second miss with 9 seconds left and pushed the ball down the court to Simmons, but defenders surrounded her and her desperation shot didn’t fall. Rock Bridge coach Kevin Giese said Schaeperkoetter’s miscues at the line were partly his fault.
“I tried to move her free throw, where she starts her free throw, and she just asked me after the game, ‘Coach, can I go back to where I’ve always shot it?’” Giese said. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that in the middle of the year.”
Boonville made its big run at the start of the fourth quarter to get within 31-29, but that was when Dressler, a sophomore, took over. She scored five points in a row for the Bruins and made key defensive plays while out-hustling her opponents.
“I like taking over because I always like getting fouled and shooting free throws,” Dressler said.
She made Rock Bridge’s only free throw, while Boonville got two from Brittney Herzog.
Dressler led all scorers with 14, and Cameo Holly added eight off the bench for Rock Bridge.
Giese said the wins against a respected program like Boonville are huge for his team’s confidence and reputation.
“Boonville is used to winning,” Giese said. “That’s where we need our program to get to, where we know we’re going to win and we’re not the team out there trying not to lose.
“The respect we have for them and that other people have for them, we’re hoping people start to have for our program.”
The Bruins look to join the state rankings for the first time this season with a win against Liberty Saturday at home.