Lady Jays knock off top-seeded Bruins to capture district title

Jefferson City Lady Jays Lauren Coons and Sadie Theroff share their team's victory over top-rated Rock Bridge in the District Finals with fans.

Jefferson City Lady Jays Lauren Coons and Sadie Theroff share their team's victory over top-rated Rock Bridge in the District Finals with fans. Photo by Stephen Brooks.

The sequel started a lot like the original.

A little more than two weeks ago, the Rock Bridge Bruins handed the Jefferson City Lady Jays a 27-point defeat. And after the Bruins vaulted to a 14-point lead with a minute to go in the first quarter Friday night, it looked like more of the same was on the way.

Then the script got flipped.

The Lady Jays led just once, but it was the once that counted as they defeated the Bruins 34-33 to capture the Class 5 District 9 Tournament title at Fleming Fieldhouse.

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“It’s a little cliché, but our kids believe in themselves and they’ve bonded together,” Lady Jays coach Shane Meyer said. “Our kids believed they could win the district, that’s where our mindset was.”

There may have been a little doubt creep in early when the Bruins jumped out to a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t think in the back of our minds, there was a little case of ‘here we go again,’” Meyer said. “We were missing some shots we normally make.”

It was 17-3 before the Lady Jays hit four free throws in :33 to cut the deficit to 10 heading into the final period.

Free throws kept the Lady Jays in the game in the first half. Jefferson City finished 11-of-12 from the line in the opening two quarters as Rock Bridge took a 22-15 advantage into intermission.

Jefferson City had just two field goals in 18 attempts from the field in the half.

“We were in a pretty good situation, considering that,” Meyer said.

The Bruins led 28-17 with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter before the Lady Jays began their comeback. The Lady Jays, who got field goal No. 3 with 3:10 left in the quarter, closed the quarter on a 6-1 run and trailed 29-23 heading into the final period.

“The kids hung in there, we made a few plays here and there,” Meyer said. “Things started to snowball and it ran down the hill.”

A layup by Carmen Boessen with a little more than four minutes gave Rock Bridge a 33-28 lead. But that was it for the Bruin offense, who appeared to rush their shots throughout the second half.

Two free throws by Kristin Burnett, who finished 8-of-8 at the line, with 3:57 left cut it to 33-30.

Burnett tied for the teamhigh with 10 points.

“She will get in there and battle, battle, battle,” Meyer said.

It was still 33-30 with 1:47 left when Shelby Mustain hit a short jumper to cut Jefferson City’s deficit to one. A quick shot by Rock Bridge missed and Jefferson City got the rebound with 1:33 to play.

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