After winning a crucial home game against East High School Bears on Tuesday, Dec. 15 earlier this week, the boys’ basketball team was feeling confident coming into Avila University Dec. 18 to play against St. Thomas Aquinas High School. However, the Saints unexpectedly defeated RBHS 54-46 in the showcase, and the Bruins left Kansas City with a 4-2 tally for the season.
One of the main factors resulting in the Bruins’ tough loss was insufficient care of the ball, resulting in several points on the other end for the Saints. From the beginning of the first quarter to the final seconds of the fourth, St. Thomas kept a slim, yet comfortable lead which eventually granted them the win.
“I didn’t think we played up to our potential last night,” junior guard Justin Hajicek said. “Our defense was solid, but we had a lot of turnovers on the offensive end, which is something we need to work on and take away from this game. St. Thomas was a good fundamental team, but I thought we definitely should have beaten them.”
Despite their costly turnovers, RBHS had adequate performance in other aspects of the game. The team thoroughly fulfilled the offensive role, in which freshman guard Ben Cooper lead the team with 14 points for the night.
“I’ve been shooting the ball well lately and that carried over to last night,” Cooper said. “However, I made some turnovers, which is an issue that has plagued our team. I’ll work hard to fix that. Part of it is getting stronger, as I’m going against guys several years older than me.”
Cooper also believes that teammate inexperience is a factor in the few losses the team has faced this year. The team’s first loss of the season was on Friday, Dec. 12, in which the DeSmet Spartans defeated RBHS 47-31, and tonight marked the second loss of the season for RBHS.
“Our team is searching for an identity,” Cooper said. “We’re deep at every position, but we haven’t found a clear leader yet. Every guy dressed out last night played. That’s good, but finding the ‘right’ lineup has been challenging and finding a good ‘flow’ has been difficult. As coach has said, it’s probably because we have such a mix of old and young guys that haven’t played together much.”
The team is now looking forward to their next game, which will take place on Dec. 22 at Battle High School against the Spartans. RBHS defeated the Spartans in a preseason scrimmage on Nov. 20 and they are looking forward to come up with another win against BHS.
“Basketball is an up and down game,” Hajicek said. “You can’t get too down on the losses or too high on the victories. Now, we are focusing on getting ready to bounce back against Battle on Tuesday.”
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