At several points during Rock Bridge’s Friday night game against the Raytown South Cardinals, the chant of “You can’t stop him” could be heard coming from one section of the crowd at the Rock Bridge gym.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, this section was the Cardinals’ traveling fan base and the “him” was referring to Raytown South senior George Goode.
Goode, a 6-foot-9 forward who will be playing for the University of Louisville next year, proved his fan base right and led his team to a 46-40 win against the Bruins.
“He simply took over the game during certain stretches,” Raytown South coach Brad Oestreich said of Goode’s play.
Goode finished with a game-high 16 points, including two fourth-quarter dunks.
“I think I played alright,” Goode said. “I could have done better, though.”
The Bruins decided against playing a zone defense against the Cardinals (19-2), something many other opponents have done in hopes of trying to slow down Goode.
“Rock Bridge likes to play man-to-man, that’s what they do,” Oestreich said. “Many other teams we play that like to play man-to-man come out in a zone when they play us. This was the best man-to-man defensive pressure we’ve seen so far this season.”
Rock Bridge senior Logan Gray conceded that the Bruins (17-2) thought about changing their style of defense for this game but decided against it.
“We talked a little bit about playing a zone to try to slow down the big man in the middle,” Gray said referring to Goode. “But they have a lot of good shooters so we decided to just stick with what we do.”
Goode also made an impact on the defensive end by blocking shots and pulling down rebounds.
“It can be tough with him down there,” Gray said. “Sometimes you get a good drive to the basket but he’s just waiting there.”
The Bruins faced a 12-point deficit at halftime, but rallied back to pull within two points with 2:07 left in the game.
“We had a gut-check at halftime,” Gray said, who finished with a team-high 14 points. “When we came back out, we started playing as a team. We knew if we played our game, we would get right back in the game.”
The Bruins were hindered by poor free throw shooting, making only 11-of-23 attempts.
“You have to make free throws in games like this,” Gray said. “That’s definitely one of the reasons why we lost this game.”
Coming into the game, Rock Bridge was ranked second in the state among Class 5 schools and Raytown South was ranked fifth.