Last year’s loss at districts propels girls basketball to sweep both wins against Jays

Katrina Fox

The varsity team is ready to play at the Rock Bridge tournament two weeks ago. Photo by Halley Hollis.
With only one more away game besides tournaments in the regular season, the Bruin girls basketball team (19-3) focused on beating the Jefferson City Jays (13-8) yesterday.
At last year’s district championship game, dropped a one-point heart breaker to the Jays; the sting of that loss lingered on the girls’ minds. On Thursday, Feb. 9, they were ready for redemption.

“We were so bitter about last years district game,” varsity player senior Kelsey Harrington said. “We really wanted to come out and prove it was a mistake [they won last year].”
The battle began with a game between the JV Bruins (9-3) and JV Jays (2-2).  From the 6:30 p.m. start time, the girls’ desire to avenge the 2011 loss set the tone for the 38-19 pounding handed to the Jays.
But the first half was tight for the young Bruins. After junior Kennedy Smith won the jump, the two teams were neck and neck, staying within two or three points of each other the whole first half. When halftime came, the teams were tied.
The Bruins came out of the locker room fired up, and the girls outplayed the Jays, pulling ahead.  At the end, RBHS handed Jefferson City its first  – but not last – victory of the night.
“Everyone wanted to beat them so badly because of last year,” JV player junior Sydney Ringdahl said. “So JV tried to start off the night right and succeed[ed] by winning and getting the varsity pumped.”
Going forth with momentum of the JV victory, Bruin varsity was hoping to have the upper hand and take an easy win. However, the Jays, too, were ready to compete, making the 72-51 Bruin score not show how close the game started.
The RBHS girls trailed in the beginning, but they didn’t allow the slow start to stifle their feeling of intensity; instead it grew stronger as they worked to keep the game within reach. The girls knew something had to change to turn the game around.
“We weren’t having any fun,” Harrington said, “so when we started smiling and having fun with each other we played so much better.”
The clock ticked and Rock Bridge fought against Jeff City to tie the game. Slowly, as the momentum of the game slipped from the Jays’ clutch to the Bruins’, the lead shifted, as well. Once the RB girls had the lead, the Bruin girls were able to relax and enjoy the game while still keeping the intensity on the hardwood.
As soon as their “lead kept increasing, you could tell Rock Bridge was just having fun at that point,” Ringdahl said. It “didn’t seem as tense but they kept the intensity up not allowing Jeff city to hang with them.”
In the end, varsity pulled far ahead.
Getting both wins allowed all of the Bruins to walk away satisfied with the night and made last year’s loss sit a little bit easier. However, the game against the Jays did not quench the RB girls’ thirst for more wins throughout the rest of the season and post-season.
“We are pretty confident,” Harrington said, “but everyone is out to beat us so we have to take it one game at a time.”
By Katrina Fox