Rock Bridge was inspired in its last regular season home game of the season Thursday night.
A strong effort made it possible to play the team’s four seniors, and they stole the show. All four helped their team to a 59-29 victory against Hannibal.
Coach Kevin Giese was on the bench for the first time in a week after sitting out the past two games as part of MSHSAA sanctions.
He said he was glad his team could win comfortably for a change. He said it meant a lot for this year’s seniors to be the ones who helped turn the basketball program into a winner.
“I hope they feel as good about this year as I feel about them,” Giese said.
Rachel Jones, Ashley Stanfill, Erin
McConachie and Bree Ginter checked in together in the fourth quarter. Their entrance capped off a rout, and the players left to a standing ovation.
“It made me cry,” sophomore Ashley Dressler said. “It’s really special to have such wonderful seniors, they’re really good at basketball and they’ve just been such an inspiration to the whole team.”
Jones said it couldn’t have ended any better.
“It’s just come full circle, it’s awesome,” Jones said. “I don’t want it to be over, I really don’t.”
She said it was special having all four seniors on the floor in the fourth quarter.
“That was great,” Jones said. “We’ve all known each other since we were probably like in elementary school.
“It’s just great to play with your friends, play with what we feel like is family to us, and it’s an awesome feeling.”
The second quarter was the key to the game. Rock Bridge (15-6) held Hannibal without a field goal, outscoring the Pirates 25-5 to take a 33-15 lead into halftime.
The Bruins pounded the ball inside and did not let up on defense. Hannibal struggled trying to stop the Bruins’ fast break and could not make a shot.
Giese said the win, and the last two regular season games next week, will help Rock Bridge as it prepares for the district tournament.
“I think they’ll be two good games to get us ready for districts, and hopefully we can have some momentum heading into districts,” Giese said.
He said sitting out Friday and Monday’s games was an experience he would not like to repeat. He attended two other games to scout and spent the time wondering how his team was doing.
“It was the first time I’ve had to sit out and hopefully the last time I’ll have to sit out games,” Giese said.
Dressler led all scorers with 10. Jones added seven to lead the seniors. Stanfill scored six, Ginter had four, and McConachie added one.
Rock Bridge will play at Jennings at noon Saturday and at Helias at 6 p.m Thursday.
District seedings will be determined Saturday. Rock Bridge will host District 10 play beginning Feb. 21.