Senior forward Tre Williams shoots a free throw. Williams’ stellar offensive performance was an important factor to RBHS’s successful Smith-Cotton Tournament.
The boys basketball team sprinted out of the gates to begin the season, but hit a rough patch as the season continued, losing four of their last six games. During the weekend, the Bruins carried their 5-4 record into the Smith-Cotton Tournament, in an attempt to regain their footing midway through the season.
The Bruins’ first opponent was the Moberly Bulldogs. The game appeared to be competitive at the end of the first quarter, with the score reading 14-12, in favor of the Bruins. Eventually, RBHS would erupt offensively and coast to an easy victory.
“The big difference was our speed after the first quarter,” senior forward Carson England said. “We took advantage of good defense and turned it into productive offense. Our two big guys really played well offensively.”
Those ‘two big guys,’ junior forward Eysan Wiley and senior forward Tre Williams, had their way against a smaller Moberly roster. The Bruins would go on to win in dominating fashion, 80-57.
On the other side of the bracket, Webster Groves defeated Warrenton 69-49 setting up the semifinal match.
The Statesmen featured a guard-heavy roster, playing stellar defense and fast offense. Again, Tre Williams led the Bruins offensively, as the Bruins trailed 30-28 going into halftime.
“We did a good job of slowing their fast break and playing smart offense,” junior guard Jack Widhalm said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep the intensity and productivity up for the whole game.”
The second half saw spurts of scoring, but the Statesmen simply outscored the Bruins.
Although RBHS scored seven unanswered points to start the half, Webster Groves responded with a 19-5 run, leading 49-40 heading into the fourth quarter. The Bruins would fight back, but were unable to regain momentum, or the lead, as they fell 65-57.
“We were obviously disappointed with the loss,” senior forward Karson Ringdahl said. “But, we knew they were a good team and we competed well for most of the game. We knew we had to improve but we had confidence heading into the third-place game.”
In the final game of the tournament for RBHS, the Bruins faced Springfield Parkview, who fell to Sedalia in the other semifinal.
From the tip, the game was a low-scoring, defensive affair. The Bruins led 6-5 after the first quarter, but trailed at halftime by a 17-14 score.
“Neither team could really get anything going,” junior guard Justin Hajicek said. “Part of it was good defense and part of it was sloppy offense, but there really wasn’t any rhythm throughout the game offensively.”
But, the Bruins would manage to muster a 9-2 run to end the third quarter, taking a 28-24 lead. Parkview would cut the lead to three with one minute remaining, but the Bruins held on to take a 36-31 victory, the third place trophy and improve their record to a 7-5 mark.
Both Tre Williams and Eysan Wiley received All-Tournament Team honors, while Webster Groves blew out Sedalia 70-26 to take first place.
“Looking ahead, we have two tournaments coming up in our schedule and we know we will be facing some good competition,” England said. “Then, we get into the teeth of the schedule and get into district play. Hopefully, we can carry some momentum from this tourney into the upcoming games and finish the season strong.”