Rock Bridge High School basketball head coach Jill Nagel talks to her team

Rock Bridge High School basketball coach Jill Nagel talks to her team on the bench during a game against Jefferson City High School on Friday in Columbia. 

In the second quarter of Rock Bridge's 46-33 loss against undefeated Jefferson City on Friday, things were looking up for the Bruins.

Their first bucket hadn't come until a little over halfway through the first period, when junior guard Eryn Puett made a layup on an assist from Sanaa' St. Andre. St. Andre herself hit a 3 before the quarter ended, but those five points were all for Rock Bridge, which trailed 11-5 after eight minutes.

But the Bruins woke up in the next quarter.

St. Andre started the period with a quick layup to cut the Jays' lead to five. Jefferson City's Sarah Linthacum made a layup of her own and was fouled on the way up but failed to convert the and-1. A bucket by the Jays' Kara Daly put Jefferson City back up by eight, but St. Andre answered with a 3 for Rock Bridge. 

Later, with the Jays up 18-10, St. Andre grabbed a rebound, took the ball back up the court and made an impressive pass inside to Puett, who muscled her way up for 2. It was the beginning of a run for the Bruins.

St. Andre hit a 3, followed by another from Puett. A third triple from junior guard Biance Stocks beat the halftime buzzer and put Rock Bridge within one. Jefferson City led 22-21 at the half.

After the break, Rock Bridge started to backslide. The third quarter was the weakest point for the Bruins.

"That's kind of been the story this year when we play really solid teams," head coach Jill Nagel said. "We play really well for three quarters and then have a quarter there that puts us behind the 8-ball a little bit."

Rock Bridge again put up just five points in the quarter, while Jefferson City scored 17.

"We stopped attacking the spots that we wanted to in the third quarter," Nagel said. "This is a team where an eight-point deficit seems like a lot more."

By the end of the third quarter, the Jays led 39-26. From there, Rock Bridge struggled to get back in the game despite holding Jefferson City to seven points in the fourth quarter.

Only two Bruins scored in the final period, including sophomore guard Ella Schouten, who saw more minutes with junior guard Averi Kroenke on the bench due to injury.

Nagel said she expects Kroenke to return for Rock Bridge's next game, and she was proud of how Schouten and junior guard Samantha Mackley stepped up to fill the gap.

"Injuries happen," Nagel said. "Nobody's crying for Rock Bridge, we aren't crying for ourselves, so next man up." 

St. Andre finished with a team-leading 13 points followed by Puett with 12.

Next, the Bruins will play Miller Career Academy at 6 p.m. Wednesday in St. Louis.

  • Sports reporter, spring 2019. Studying magazine writing. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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