Seniors Trey Smith (24) and Tre Williams (54) dodge Lee’s Summit West defenders while Karson Ringdahl (42) stands on the sideline with the ball, searching for an open pass.
After a loss to St. Francis Borgia (15-5) nearly two weeks ago on Jan. 30, the RBHS boys’ basketball team tied up the season series at one win apiece against the Knights in a 57-55 victory last night.
The 66-54 loss to Borgia, which would come in the final of the Union Tournament, weighed heavily on the mind of senior forward Carson England and his teammates leading up to the squad’s’ second meeting with the Knights.
“We just got out touched in the last game so we knew we needed to come out and play with a tough mindset,” England said. “We were ready to play, we were excited to get some revenge from the last game.”
And it didn’t take long for the Bruins’ to get their motors revving, torching their way to a 12-3 run in the first four minutes of the first quarter and finishing up the period with an 18-9 lead.
While the offense was rolling early, RBHS’ emphasis on protecting the perimeter was to thank for their early advantage in the game’s opening quarter.
“We knew more about their three point shooting abilities and about their solid role players,” junior forward Eysan Wiley said. “Coach (Scanlon) emphasized that we had to run the shooters off the three point line.”
However, the Knights would slowly chip away at the Bruins’ lead bringing the game to within seven at 29-22 after two quarters played. Eight minutes later Borgia would hold a one point edge leading 42-41 despite double digit scoring efforts by both Wiley and freshman Ben Cooper at 11 and 10, respectively.
“They continued making good shots, we also shot good shots but went on a drought,” Wiley said. “Basketball is a game of runs. It just depends on how you react to the runs.”
While both teams wouldn’t see considerable runs in the final period, Borgia maintained a consistent one to three point lead throughout all but ten seconds of the fourth quarter. However, those fifteen seconds were all RBHS needed to pull off a win in the game’s dying moments.
After a pair of free throws by Ben Cooper trimmed the Knights’ lead to 55-54 senior guard Trey Smith would make the play of the game, intercepting Borgia’s inbound pass and tipping in a missed Wiley layup to give the Bruins’ a 56-55 advantage.
England believes the team’s increased level of play down the stretch was inspired by tough losses and mistakes made in the first half of the season.
“A couple of the games we have lost have come in the final minutes,” England said, “so we have learned from those experiences and obviously have gotten better in that regard.”
Mere moments after Smith’s tip-in RBHS would earn yet another steal, cementing the team’s eighth win in the past nine games and improving the Bruins record to a 14-6 mark. Only three weeks away from the District 9 tournament it seems Wiley and his teammates have found their form.
“These last 8 or 9 games we have really came together and found out what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are,” Wiley said. “We have to continue working hard in practice and playing together to maintain our level of play. We just have to continue what we are doing basically.”
How do you think the Bruins will do when the District 9 tournament rolls around? Leave your comment below.