A 3-point third-quarter lead was enough for Rock Bridge on Wednesday night.
The Bruins held Jefferson City to one field goal in the final quarter and beat the Jays 53-40 at Rock Bridge.
After leading the Jays 38-35 at the end of the third quarter, Rock Bridge (17-3) outscored their opponent 15-5 in the fourth. Sophomore guard Logan Gray contributed 6 of his 10 points in the quarter.
Gray, who missed last week because of sickness, played the majority of his minutes in the second half.
“I was just happy to be out there,” Gray said. “I was tired, but I started to finally get back into a flow.”
Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said he was pleased with Gray’s performance.
The Bruins held the Jays’ three starting guards to 20 points.
“All their guards can shoot,” Scanlon said. “I thought it was a heck of a defensive effort.”
Senior forward Kirk Duncan, Jefferson City’s emotional leader, was held to 2 points, while senior forward Mike Crawford was the Jays’ top scorer with 8 points.
The Bruins started sloppy, committing several first-quarter turnovers which the Jays converted into baskets. At the end of the quarter the Jays led 20-12.
Scanlon said it was the worst first quarter the team has had this year.
Starting guard Alex Austin kept the Bruins in the game with an 8-point first quarter. He finished the game with 14 points.
“My players helped me get good shots and good looks,” Austin said. “They got me the ball, and they set good picks. All I had to do was just shoot it.”
After cutting down on turnovers, the Bruins rallied in the second quarter to give themselves a 28-24 lead at the half.
Junior forwards John Stull and Brett Gifford provided Rock Bridge with an inside presence at both ends of the floor. Stull finished with 7 points while Gifford contributed 5.
Scanlon said the two forwards play in the post was a bonus.
“We haven’t had that earlier,” Scanlon said. “They start playing like that it makes us a lot better.”
Jefferson City’s bench wasn’t a factor. The Jays reserves scored 10 points, while Rock Bridge had 18 points from its bench.
“Our depth’s improved.” Scanlon said. “We can run people. Logan’s been a little better, but not perfect… It helps to have some more bodies and some more legs.”