Boys’ basketball beats Hickman, moves to regionals

Daphne Yu

Senior Will Echelmeier guards the ball in a previous game this season. Photo by Parker Sutherland
This season, the boys’ basketball team (22-4) met its cross-town rivals, Hickman High School (15-10) for the first time Dec. 15, and the Bruins  beat the Kewpies, 46-26.
On Jan. 24, the Bruins and Kewpies faced each other for a second time, and again, Bruins dominated the game, winning 64-50.
Exactly one month later, on Feb. 24, the Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team beat Hickman one last time 70-49 to advance to regional play.
Stepping on court after the Bruin girls’ victory against Jefferson City, the boys were ready to show their strength as a team.
“Knowing [the girls] won just gave us confidence to go out and do the same,” sophomore Jackson Dubinski said. “It just got us more hyped.”
Although this was the Bruin boys third time facing the Kewpies, RBHS approached the championship  as if it were  any other game, where mental focus was the driving force, Dubinski said.
And indeed, the boys were ready right from the start. The first few minutes of the game said it all: with a 13-0 start, Bruins dominated the hardwood, playing a strong defense and a stronger offense.
“We knew that with [the game] being for the district title … we came out to start the game because how you start the game sets the tone for the rest of the half,” senior Austin Ray said. “We just came out fired up and ready to play.”
As Hickman tossed in a few baskets, Rock Bridge made more.  By halftime, the Bruins had nearly double the points of the Kewpies with a score of 43-23. In the second half, the distance between the two teams escalated until finally, the buzzer sounded and Rock Bridge was officially the District 9 champions.
The win secures the Bruins’ advancement in postseason. Next they will play the Rolla  (18-8), winner of District 10’s game against Waynesville (8-15).
On Feb. 29 the Bruins head to the University of Science and Technology in Rolla to take on the Bulldogs. Although the Bruins have not played the Bulldogs this season, RBHS has  beaten Waynesville,  62-48. To prepare for Wednesday’s game, the boys will watch films of Rolla playing, Dubinksi said.
In the meantime, the boys – tired but ecstatic – celebrate not only the district title, but also bragging rights in Columbia.
“With the long standing rivalry between us,” Ray said, “beating them for the title was a nice feeling.”
By Daphne Yu
additional reporting by Jackie Nichols