Jefferson City will challenge Bruins

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:32 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Rock Bridge girls’ basketball team is expecting an evenly-matched game between two strong teams. And it expects to be ready.

When the Bruins face Jefferson City at 6 tonight at Rock Bridge, Cameo Holly, a senior guard for the Bruins, said the Jays will face a well-prepared and focused team.

“Our intensity level is very high going into this game,” Holly said. “We’re very excited to play Jeff City; it’s a very good matchup.”

Coach Jill Nagel agreed.

“We had a very good practice (today) ... They focused and channeled their energy ... That’s what we need to do to be ready for this team. Jeff City’s a good team.”

Rock Bridge (12-1) and Jefferson City (12-3) are likely to meet in Class 5 District 10 play, so the game might be an early glimpse of what is to follow after the regular season.

“This is a district opponent,” Nagel said. “This is who we’re going to face come tournament time when it really counts, so we got to be ready.”

If Rock Bridge wins, their defense will almost certainly be a key component. Nagel and Holly said they think defensive play has been a main reason why the team has enjoyed success.

In the championship game of the California tournament Saturday, Mexico turned the ball over to the Bruins 22 times. Rock Bridge stole the ball 15 times and won 55-44.

“I think defense is the main thing on our team,” Holly said. “Our offense comes along with that. We’re a good offensive team, but defense is what gets us going.”

While Nagel has her team playing strong defense, the Bruins’ offense will be difficult for Jefferson City to stop because of the many scoring threats.

The team’s offense, she said, is not centered on one player, making it easier on her players, because they don’t have the pressure of the team’s success riding on the shoulders of one player.

Centers Ashley Dressler and Katherine Harry are scoring 10.4 points a game, while guards Claire Schaeperkoetter and Cameo Holly are averaging 9.5.

“We’ve got four people averaging nine and one-half points right now, so we’re spreading the ball around,” Nagel said. “We dress 10 for varisty, and anyone can step up and be that leading scorer for us. We’ve had five or six different leading scorers in our first 13 games. It can be anybody, and that’s the way our offense is set up.”

In addition to defensive play, Holly said she thinks smart play on offense will be important. She said the team can win if it reads the Jays’ defense well, executes its plays and uses ball fakes to cut down on turnovers.

Holly said she doesn’t think the team is overconfident, just prepared.

“We see any team as being good, and that’s how we go into it,” she said.

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