RBHS to host girls basketball tournament

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Daphne Yu

Junior Chayla Cheadle, gaurd, makes a basket during practice after school. Photo by Patrick Smith
Junior Chayla Cheadle, guard, makes a basket during practice after school. Photo by Patrick Smith
For the next three days, Jan. 17 – Jan. 19, girls basketball teams from across Missouri as well as from out of state will travel to Columbia to attend the second annual Rock Bridge Tournament. Having hosted their first basketball tournament last year, which athletic director Jen Mast called successful, she and head girls basketball coach Jill Nagel wanted to repeat the success this year in addition to having hopes of expanding the tournament even further.
The Rock Bridge Tournament “was something that coach Nagel wanted to do. We kind of had a vision of a tournament that would bring in some of the better teams in the state of Missouri and out of state. Our goal is to bring in some out-of-state teams every year,” Mast said. “What we’d like to do is make it an eight-team tournament and make it half in-state, half out-of-state.”
Although RBHS does not host tournaments “as often as we would like,” Mast said, the school does have the facility and capability to host tournaments. RBHS cheerleaders will be feeding the visiting teams after each game, and with the expansion of the new gym, there will be more locker rooms available than last year, although some classrooms will still be used in lieu of locker rooms in some cases.
“I really like [hosting the tournament] because it makes the team feel more involved, and it’s not as tense,” sophomore cheerleader Ann Stone said. “It shows our students are really open to [the] schools around them, and they’re willing to include everybody.”
The three visiting teams include nearby neighbor Jefferson City High School, Jackson High School and, notably, Edwardsville High School, a nationally ranked team from Illinois that will come into this weekend undefeated. The scheduling for the four-team tournament will be in the standard round-robin style, where there will be two games per day. While the Lady Bruins will be playing a tough schedule with three game days back-to-back, Mast says hosting the tournament does make it a little easier for the team in terms of the “wear-and-tear of travel.” In addition, the Lady Bruins will have the home crowd right on their turf. Although RBHS fans do invigorate the team, the girls will focuse on improving in time for post-season.
“We love playing in front of our home crowd,” Nagel said, “but every game is the same and we approach it the same way. We’re trying to build some momentum and consistency — consistency within the game and consistency from game to game. We had some losses early [in the season] and, we’d like to string together some wins and build some momentum going into post-season.”
Preparing for post-season is important to the defending state champions, but hosting a home tournament gives the girls something to fight for. Starting from a home game victory against Glendale High School in 2009, the girls have a tradition to continue.
This tournament is  “important to not only the seniors, but the whole team since we have a three-year streak of home court wins. I think it’s just defending our home court,”  senior starter Hannah Dressler said. The tournament “is a great opportunity for us since we are on the road most of the time. We get to feed off our crowd, and we just get to see our supporters who don’t get to come to our further away games. It brings a great atmosphere to play in … We are gracious hosts off the court, and when we are on the court we show our intensity, but at the same time, we are sportsman-like and are respectful of our opponent.”
By Daphne Yu
Will you be going to the tournament to support our girls? 
Playing Schedule for the Lady Bruins:
Rock Bridge v. Jackson, Thursday, 6 p.m.
Rock Bridge v. Edwardsville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Rock Bridge v. Jefferson City,  Saturday, 1:30 p.m.