Kreklow comes alive late; Bruins down Kewpies for first time in two years


Josh Ripley

[heading]Columbia Rock Bridge 59, Columbia Hickman 54[/heading]

The last four RBHS-Hickman boys basketball games had been defined by hard fought, down to the wire matchups, that the Kewpies found a way to win every time.  Last year the Kewpies came into Rock Bridge Gym and sneaked away with a triple overtime victory.  Last month the Kewpies returned to the south side before heading back north after securing a two point victory.  Thursday night appeared to be more of the same as the Bruins hung right with the Kewpies deep into the fourth quarter but couldn’t seem to get over the hump and take the upper hand.

RBHS junior guard Ryan Kreklow prepares to take a free throw late in the 4th quarter of the Bruins upset of cross-town rival Hickman. Kreklow finished the game with four consecutive free throws to seal the win.  photo by Marissa Soumokil
RBHS junior guard Ryan Kreklow prepares to take a free throw late in the 4th quarter of the Bruins upset of cross-town rival Hickman. Kreklow finished the game with four consecutive free throws to seal the win.
Photo by Marissa Soumokil

As the two teams traded baskets and the clock continued to wind down, it looked as though RBHS was headed towards yet another crushing defeat to their crosstown foe.  On this night though, it would be the Bruins who would invade their opponents gym and come away with a win.  When junior guard Ryan Kreklow connected on a three pointer with about two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter RBHS took it’s first lead of the game.  It was a lead the Bruins wouldn’t relinquish.

Following a Kewpie miss, Kreklow attempted another three and came up empty, however he grabbed his own rebound and fed the ball to junior guard Josh Broadus who connected on a layup to extend Rock Bridge’s lead to four. On the ensuing inbound Hickman threw the ball out of bounds returning the possession to the Bruins.  From there Kreklow and senior guard Jackson Dubinski took turns sinking free throws to extend the margin, leading to a shocking final of RBHS 59 Hickman 54.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Dubinski said, who was the Bruins leading scorer, pouring in 16 points.  “We knew coming in that if we would just stick together in this environment and make defensive stops that we could win the game and that’s what we did.”

Kreklow followed Dubinski in the scoring column by putting in 14 points of his own.  The junior standout was held in check most of the game by the Hickman defense but he came through when it counted most, drilling the late three to give the Bruins the lead and then calmly sinking his last four free throws to put the game away.  Also joining Dubinski and Kreklow in double figures was Broadus who finished with ten points.  The win boosted the Bruins record on the season to 14-3.

“I’m happy for our guys,” Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said.  “It’s a rivalry game and they really wanted it.  They played hard and Hickman played hard.  Hickman is a very good team that’s hard to beat and I’ll give our guys credit, they hung in there and they’re an awful good group.”

On the opposite end, the first half proved to be a rough one for Hickman junior standout Jimmy Whitt.  With representatives from the University of Kansas and Butler in the building to watch him play, Whitt struggled to knock down shots early and went into halftime with a mere five points.   He still struggled for most of the third quarter before heating up in the final period to finish with 18 points, two below his season average.

The Kewpies were led in scoring by senior Chris Clark who poured in 20.  Clark scored the game’s first 6 points as part of an 8-0 Hickman run to start the game.  However he appeared to injure his ankle later in the half which seemed to slightly affect his play the rest of the way.  Following Clark and Whitt was senior Douglas Johnson who scored 13 points of his own.  The loss dropped the Kewpies to 17-2 on the season.

“We made some key turnovers down the stretch that hurt us and kept Rock Bridge in the game,” Hickman coach David Johnson said.  “Kreklow hit a three, we turned the ball over again and from there it was pretty much uphill in trying to stay in the game.  Hopefully this helps us focus on closing out games.  We have some cleaning up to do as far as taking care of the basketball,  finishing down the stretch and making sure we rebound better.”

The win was the Bruins’ first over the Kewpies in two years and knotted the season series up.  Now tied at 1-1, all eyes will inevitably turn towards a potential rubber match in the district championship game at Rock Bridge in early March.  Until then, however, Bruin fans will savor this one.  Giving the Kewpies a taste of their own medicine in their house, and providing Rock Bridge faithful with bragging rights, at least for another month.  Assuming they both get there,  if the next time these two meet is anything like the way the rivalry has been going recently, it will be one for the ages.  This time, with much more on the line.

By Josh Ripley