For three quarters Tuesday night, the Rock Bridge and Jefferson City girls played to a draw. Unfortunately for the Bruins, basketball games have four quarters. And it was the second quarter one that did them in.
Behind 18 points from senior Brianna Culberson, the Jays defeated the Bruins 55-43. Perhaps the most telling statistic, though, was 14-4 — that was the scoring margin between the two teams in the second quarter, a quarter that saw Rock Bridge fall from a two-point lead into an eight-point deficit.
Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel blamed her team’s defense for the swing.
“I don’t think we came out with the same defensive intensity that we had in the first quarter,” Nagel said. “That kind of put ourselves in a hole.”
In that second quarter, Jefferson City scored the first six points. Culberson, Jefferson City’s all-time leading scorer, had eight points, including a 3-pointer and a 3-point play. On the offensive end, Rock Bridge struggled after a change in the Jays’ defensive strategy.
After playing most of the first quarter in a man-to-man defense, the Jays switched to zone.
“We were just holding the ball too much,” Bruins sophomore guard Andrea Seabaugh said. “We didn’t move the ball quick enough.”
“We’ve just got to do a better job with our offensive execution,” Nagel said. “We‘ve just got to sharpen up our picks and we’ll get to work on that in practice.”
After the second quarter, the Bruins were forced to play more aggressively. However, by the fourth quarter, Jefferson City had pulled away and built a 15-point lead (39-24).