It was heartbreak for the the Lady Bruins’ basketball team last night as they failed to overcome an early deficit against its crosstown Hickman, resulting in an action-packed 30-28 loss for the Bruins. A gym full of excited fans gathered to motivate the players from tip-off to the final shot.
“It’s definitely a rivalry game, but it’s also the next game on the schedule so we had to make sure we were executing the game plan,” said Head Coach Jill Nagel. “We were just excited. Battle and Hickman are our two biggest rivals and those games bring the bigger crowds so we get more excited for those games.”
The Bruins anticipated the game and had waited all season for this night.
“The team was pretty pumped up and excited but we were also focused at the same time,” said Senior guard and lead scorer Bri Ellis with 11 points.
After numerous missed shots, steals and turnovers, the first quarter ended 4-4 leaving the players and fans alike craving for a more offensive battle.
“Both teams know each other so well so there is no secrets between the teams which is why the scoring was so low,” said Nagel. “We needed to do a better job of executing our half court offence and shorten up some of the mistakes.”
Both the Bruins and the Kewpies defended their own basket, but struggled when it came time to put their own points on the board.
“We played really great defense,” said Ellis. “[The defense] was really tight and that caused trouble with offense on both sides of the floor.”
In the second quarter, RBHS allowed the Kewpies to make simple baskets and ended the first half 18-11 with the Bruins needing a strategy to gain the points back.
“We weren’t concerned because it was our ball coming out of the half time,” said Nagel. “We felt like we could get some sets and a score on that first possession. When you do that then the score difference is five and it’s not very much anymore.”
The third quarter brought a new drive for the players as they all came onto the court motivated and ready to play. At the end of the third, the Bruins had climbed back on the Kewpies, and brought their lead to within one, down 20-19. The Bruins had possession of the ball, but a loose pass allowed Hickman to make a layup in the last second. The successful quarter for the Bruins allowed them to regain confidence and prepare themselves for a nail-biting fourth quarter with the hope of surging past the Kewpies’ 22-19 lead.
“We always call those 50/50 balls and we want win those 50/50 balls but that’s one that we lost,” said Nagel. “ It’s disappointing but when you lose by one possession you can look at any possession. Yeah, that could’ve been the one but there’s so many others that could’ve been the one as well.”
Both the Bruins and HHS were focused and controlled the last quarter. With one minute left, RBHS was in desperate need of points to match Hickman’s 30-26 lead.
“I was just trying to fight to the nail and Hickman was a great team and they have great players. I was just trying to do whatever I could to keep my team in it,” said Ellis, who was the lead scorer with 11 points.
Junior Avery Schroeder took a great shot to make the score 30-28 with few seconds left on the clock. The Bruins and the Kewpies utilized their timeouts in the last 15 seconds and made a game plan, but RBHS was unable to make the basket necessary to win the game in the last second as Ellis’ shot missed the mark.
“The kids were great,” said Nagel. “They were very calm and were listening in the time outs and knew the set that we wanted to run and just didn’t get the great pass we needed near the end and that happens. We’ll go back to practice and make sure we get those squared up.”
After the lowest scoring game of the season, RBHS will play in the Scoreboard Guy Shootout this Saturday against Republic High School in Ozark.
“We are going to build off of this and look forward to playing our next game,” said Ellis. “We just have to focus and come together as a team and just remember that when we play together we are successful and great.”