Threepeat complete: Lady Bruins win third consecutive title


Photo by Renata Williams

Brett Stover

During a game in which they never trailed, the Bruin girls basketball team won the 2014 MSHSAA Class 5 State Championship 62-45 over Lee’s Summit North (24-6). This title is their third straight, and their fourth in the last seven years. But is it a dynasty?
The Bruins (27-3) scored the game’s first 10 points on Saturday at Mizzou Arena and never looked back. The Broncos might as well have been playing a young college team, as each of the Bruins’ starts have scholarships to NCAA Division I schools.

Photo by Renata Williams
Photo by Renata Williams
While their victory was almost considered an inevitability by many around the state, the talented Bruins found ways to push themselves and not to grow complacent.
“It’s not often … that in practice they’ll push each other, and maybe Chayla will steal it from somebody else, and whoever got it stolen from them will give her a high five and say, ‘Good job. Way to push me,'” RBHS head coach Jill Nagel said. “You just don’t see that, and that’s what’s special about this group.”
The game was essentially over when the Bruins started the second quarter with another 10-0 run, sparked by the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, junior Sophie Cunningham’s steal and layup. Cunningham led RBHS with 23 points and four steals.
Senior Bri Porter, who had been sidelined for her team’s state title runs in 2012 and 2013, also gave the Bruins 12 points and six rebounds in her final game at RBHS. She said that this game was what she had been looking forward to this year.
“I thought if I could just get through the season and get to this game,” Bri Porter said, “I would be happy.”
While they had an impressive offensive performance, putting 62 points on the Broncos and shooting 54.5 percent in the first half, the Bruins’ stifling defense is what has made them truly elite throughout the season. Ranked #2 defense in the country by USA Today’s Super 25, RBHS held LSN to 28.6% shooting from the field and created 19 turnovers.
After starting the season ranked No.12 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings, they promptly dropped to No. 21 after two 2-point losses to Tennessee powerhouses in their home state, including a 50-48 loss to #1 Blackman. However, they slowly climbed back up through the rankings, winning 27 of their last 28 games including one over #10 Whitney Young, with their only loss coming by a three-point margin to rival Missouri power and No. 2 Incarnate Word Academy (Class 4). Finally, their incredible season has culminated in a No. 5 ranking in the Xcellent 25.
With this win, the focus inevitably shifts to next season. Seven seniors, including three D-I recruits, will graduate this spring. That leaves star players Cunningham and Cierra Porter to lead a team of largely new faces in 2015. They’ll likely be highly regarded and favored for a fourth straight title.
But it’s nowhere near guaranteed yet. As the great Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp said, “That’s why they play the games.”
Dynasty? We’ll see.
By Brett Stover
[vimeo url=”″ width=”640″ height=”360″] By Renata Williams