Friday night’s game between the Bruins and the Edwardsville Tigers was supposed to be a shootout. That was undoubtedly what was on the minds of the hundreds who filled up the RBHS gym to near capacity. The Bruins (13-2) came into the game ranked 20th in the nation by USA Today.
Edwardsville came into the game (17-0) three spots higher than RBHS. In a game billed as the nation’s best on that day, the general consensus was that it would come down to the wire. Both teams battled it out in a tightly contested dogfight. The end result proved to be a stunning laugher though as the Bruins pummeled the Tigers by a score of 60-34, undoubtedly sending shockwaves throughout the country.
The Bruins opened the game on a 6-0 run, but Edwardsville quickly closed the gap. RBHS needed a last second tip in by senior Bri Porter to take a 10-8 lead into the second quarter.
From there on out, it was a show put on by the Bruins. RBHS outscored Edwardsville 19-9 in the second quarter to take a 29-17 lead into halftime including a 7-0 run to close out the period. The Bruins turned up the heat defensively, forcing many errant passes and turnovers by the Tigers. Senior Kayla Cheadle caught fire from the perimeter, drilling four three pointers in total that accounted for all of her 12 points.
All of this led to the Bruins continuing to build their already sizable lead. RBHS scored the first 12 points of the second half, continuing a run from the end of the first half, resulting in a 19-0 run in total. The Bruins never looked back from there, stretching the margin to 48-28 after the third quarter before tacking six more points onto their lead in the fourth quarter for the 60-34 final.
“I thought we executed well,” RBHS coach Jill Nagel said. “The first quarter was a bit of a chess match, but we weren’t forcing shots and we were still getting good looks. So if you stay the course and you don’t push too hard the shots are gonna fall. We have too many good shooters for them not to.”
Offensively the Bruins were led by junior Cierra Porter who poured in a game high 15 points and also gave a strong showing on the boards. She was followed by senior siblings Kayla and Chayla Cheadle who had 12 and 14 points respectively.
“I felt good, I was attacking the basket strong,” Cierra Porter said. “My teammates got me the ball inside because we knew we had a height advantage. I thought as a team we went to the hole strong.”
Nagel said she was impressed with her team defensively.
“The kids were very focused on that side of the ball,” she said. “We did a great job of shutting down their best players and credit our players for sticking to the game plan defensively. We did a good job of staying down in our stances and not getting caught in bad position.”
The victory was a sweet one for the Bruins who had fallen to Edwardsville just the year before and were looking to return the favor. They did so and then some, prompting the BruCrew to send the Tigers off with chants of “Overrated.”
“It’s really exciting for us to win this game,” Cierra Porter said. “It’s kind of revenge from last year when they beat us so it’s really exciting. We came into this game focused, and it’s fun to win.”
By Josh Ripley