Boys’ basketball advances to semifinal round of Fort Zumwalt North tournament

Junior+guard+John+Powell+shoots+the+ball+during+the+teams+pre-game+warm-up.+Photo+courtesy+of+John+Powell.

Junior guard John Powell shoots the ball during the team’s pre-game warm-up. Photo courtesy of John Powell.

Anjali Noel Ramesh

On Tuesday Jan.28, the varsity boys basketball team competed in the quarterfinal round of the Fort Zumwalt North Tournament against Francis Howell North in St. Peters, MO. After a two-hour game, the Bruins were able to defeat the Francis Howell Vikings, with a final score of 77-43. 

Senior forward Cooper Deneke said the team focused on maintaining a steady mindset to win and not losing their momentum throughout the evening. Their game plan was to play as they had practiced and hold out a lead to their opponents for as long as possible.

“We were only up by eight [points] before half,” Deneke said, “so we knew that coming out of halftime we had to pull away [with the lead].”

By the time the third quarter was finished, the Bruins gained a 24-point lead against Francis Howell, 60-36, and only increased their edge from there on. Throughout the season, the Bruins have had much success in competition. Earlier this month, the team played in the Smith-Cotton Tournament and emerged as overall champions, which junior guard John Powell said greatly helped their mental game. 

“A big milestone of the season was … the Smith-Cotton tournament,” Powell said. “We were dominant across the board against our opponents, and it was a huge confidence booster.” 

The Bruins’ record is 12-3, including their win against Francis Howell. Though they continue to vie for greater victories, their solid work ethic of practicing diligently to perform at their best remains the same for each game. 

Senior forward Jacob Ungles also said making more baskets and claiming a significant advantage over the other team motivated them to succeed far before the game’s final moments. He said their struggle to score in the beginning pushed him to play stronger and harder to triumph in the future. For Tuesday’s game specifically, Ungles said it was tough to overcome the opposing team’s solid offensive plays.

“The most difficult part was [Francis Howell’s team] hitting shots,” Ungles said, “because it seemed like we were playing good defense but they were still making them.”

Playing defense, however, is one of the Bruins’ strengths, head coach Jim Scanlon said. While they continue with practicing their rebounding skills, a play in basketball to gain possession of the ball after a missed shot, Scanlon said overall the team competes well defensively. At practices, their goal is to prepare for every aspect of the game well and grow as a team.

“Though our strength is defense and our weakness is rebounding, we have good practices,” Scanlon said. “[Our main] desire [when we play competitively] is to continue the winning culture of Rock Bridge basketball.”

Collectively, the team works well to communicate in demanding, high-stress situations. Part of this was making sure the players had enough breaks between playing for optimum ability. Powell said that Scanlon knew when to let him into the game and when to keep him on the bench.  

“The most memorable moment was when coach paced down the sideline knowing he needed some firepower off the bench,” Powell said. “He gave me the nod to where I would enter the game and nail two three pointers, [and] all I can say is that [the] game was followed with plenty of Gatorade showers.”

How do you think the Bruins’ will do in the next round? Let us know in the comments below.