Republished from the Columbia Missourian
COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge and Southwest boys basketball teams played for 2,160 seconds Tuesday night, but they probably could’ve wrapped it up after 23.
Before the Indians called a timeout with 7:37 left in the first quarter, the Bruins tallied a Nick Norton 3-pointer, a steal and another bucket by Norton. The Bruins went on to win 75-43.
“We just got out in transition,” Norton said. “We knew they were athletic, so we didn’t let them set up. We just tried to get the rebound and go.”
Little changed for Southwest after the timeout. Rock Bridge switched pressing defenses at the break and forced four turnovers before the first 90 seconds had ticked off the clock at Rock Bridge High School.
“Our traps and our press worked good, and we were just up in their stuff,” sophomore Ryan Kreklow said.
Rock Bridge didn’t leave the Indians’ stuff alone, either, pressing the entire game.
The Bruins opened with an 18-2 run before Southwest senior Monte’ Harrison hit a free throw. Harrison led the Indians with 16 points.
Southwest was never able to recover from its dismal start. The Bruins held a 24-point lead at halftime. Rock Bridge extended the margin to 40 before the Indians went on a 15-point run.
But at this point, any chances at victory were out of sight for Southwest. The Bruins had begun putting in bench players, and before the game was over, every player from the Rock Bridge bench would step on the court.
“They work hard, too,” Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said of his bench players. “We can’t always get them in there, but they work hard in practice and they’re good kids. (Playing every player) doesn’t happen very often, so it’s nice to be able to do that.”
The game was the first for the Bruins after a 58-42 loss to Christian Brothers College High School on Saturday at the Norm Stewart Classic at Columbia College.
“It was a big improvement,” Scanlon said. “The guys looked relaxed.”
Scanlon said the team is gradually developing an identity after losing eight players in the offseason.
“I thought our intensity was better. We looked more (like) a team … We’ve just got a lot of new guys out there trying to play basketball,” he said.
The next test for the Bruins (2-1) comes on Dec. 11 at Hickman High School. The Bruins’ mindset for their crosstown rival is simple, according to Kreklow:
“Beat the crap out of them.”