Rock Bridge turned up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter to distance itself from the Smith-Cotton Tigers.
The Bruins received a balanced attack from the inside and outside as Rock Bridge defeated the Tigers, 70-48.
“We’re getting better. I’ll tell you this, I’m proud of our kids,” said Smith-Cotton coach Jimmy Lincoln. “For our team to come out tonight, after a very disappointing loss Tuesday night ... I thought our team competed. The score was not an indication late in the game of how close it actually was.”
The leader of the Tigers, Nick Thompson, got Smith-Cotton off to a good start. He scored his team’s first seven points and briefly gave S-C the early advantage.
Rock Bridge bounced back and recaptured the lead and the Bruins’ Ricky Kreklow made a 3-pointer to end the quarter with the 20-12 advantage.
The lead grew to 14 points, but Thompson made a long jumper and Bryce Rohrer made back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Tigers within 10 at the 1:29 mark of the second quarter.
Both teams traded points as the half came to an end with the score 40-30.
“We were down 10 at half, we got it down to eight or seven one time,” said Lincoln. “The difference between us and Rock Bridge, Rock Bridge has five guys that can get a bucket for them, we have two or three. That’s the difference between us and a good (class 5) team. We are getting there.”
Rock Bridge’s defense stole the spotlight in the second half, as Smith-Cotton tried to work the ball around the perimeter. The Bruins limited the Tigers to eight possessions in the third quarter.
Rohrer again made a 3-pointer with just under two minutes in the third quarter to make the score 49-39 but Rock Bridge closed the quarter with consecutive baskets, giving it a 53-39 lead heading into the fourth.
The Bruins continued working all parts of the floor in the fourth quarter. At the 2:45 mark, Rock Bridge’s Mike Petrik made a layup, extending the lead to 62-45.
Thompson led all scorers with 18 points.
Petrik scored 16 points to pace Rock Bridge.