Girls basketball downs Blue Springs South


Senior guard Carly Offerdahl shovels a pass to senior forward Sophie Cunningham in a game against Nixa. The Bruins handily defeated the Eagles 56-38 Jan. 10. photo by Madelyn Stewart

John Flanegin

Lose and the season is over. That’s the pressure the RBHS girls basketball team faced in the District 9 semifinals against Blue Springs South. However, the Bruins stayed calm and collected as only three-time consecutive state champions could, making quick work of the Jaguars in a 72-45 victory spearheaded by senior and University of Missouri commit Cierra Porter’s 25 points.
RBHS, now 19-7 and ranked No. 5 in Class 5, will face the No. 1 Hickman Kewpies when the teams meet tonight in a battle for the district title — not that the Providence rivalry game needs extra drama.
The two Columbia schools met only once this season on Jan. 28 when the Kewpies knocked off the then-top ranked Bruins in an instant classic in which Hickman’s Emily Miller dropped 26 points on the RBHS defense leading to a 45-35 win for the team up north.
Senior forward and fellow Mizzou commit Sophie Cunningham is excited that RBHS has another chance at the 22-2 Kewpies believing the team’s focus has put them in a position to win.
“We are ready,” she said, “I think the best thing we can do is not look at it like we are facing Hickman and act like they have different jerseys on and play them like any other team.”
Cunningham and Porter are joined by fellow seniors Carly Offerdahl and Kelsey Knorr as they head into their last district final, hoping to advance to their fourth straight state tournament and continue to etch themselves further into Rock Bridge lore.
But with prospects of that caliber looms pressure of an even larger proportion; still, the McDonald’s All-American Cunningham believes its the bigger picture that holds a larger meaning and impact rather than a single game or postseason stretch.
“I wouldn’t call it pressure because its more of wanting this group of girls to have the experience of something bigger than ourselves,” Cunningham said. “We have worked super hard every day in practice and hopefully it will show.”
By John Flanegin