For the third year in a row the Rock Bridge girls basketball team failed to advance past the district tournament after losing to rival Hickman 46-39 Friday night in the Class 5, District 10 championship game in Jefferson City. Rock Bridge senior Ashley Dressler has played in all three of the district title losses. However, she still remains positive about what her team accomplished.
“The first year I went here, we didn’t even make it past first round,” Dressler said. “This is a real accomplishment to make it to the championship, especially for three years.”
Even though the loss ended the Bruins’ 22-game winning streak, Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel was still proud of her team’s performance.
“I told the kids before we even played our first game, I’d take them into any battle on the court or off,” Nagel said. “And I’d still do the same thing.”
Several times during the game, the Bruins fell behind by large deficits but fought back to keep themselves in the game. At one point in the third quarter, the Bruins trailed by 12 points. But by the seven-minute mark in the fourth quarter, they were leading the Kewpies by a point. The Bruins’ ability to come from behind this season has become a signature
of the team, Nagel said.
“How many teams would have folded when Hickman had those runs and we came right back every time,” Nagel said. “They gave us their best shot and we gave it right back.”
In the end, the Kewpies best shot was too much for the Bruins, who ended their season at 23-3. Nagel said she feels both teams have the ability to make it to this year’s state finals.
“We’re both top-four teams in the state, we should both be playing in Mizzou Arena,” Nagel said. “I feel bad for the kids because they deserve to be there.”
Nagel said there would still be a lot for the fans to look forward to with next season’s team. Dressler is the only starter the Bruins lose, although key bench contributors Rachel Drennan and Kate Martin also graduate. Nagel says the seniors’ leadership contributions helped make her younger players grow.