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Jays fall to Rock Bridge

COLUMBIA — The Jefferson City Jays got things going a little too late.

The Jays played a strong fourth quarter, but fell 73-59 to the Rock Bridge Bruins in a Class 5 District 9 semifinal Friday night at Hickman.

Rock Bridge jumped on Jefferson City from the get-go, scoring the game’s first four points and taking a lead it would never relinquish.

The Bruins held a 17-7 advantage after one quarter thanks to an 11-point quarter from Ryan Kreklow.

It was more of the same in the second quarter, with Rock Bridge quickly jumping out to a 22-10 lead. Jefferson City’s best chance to get back in the game came when Dylan Mason completed a conventional three-point play with 3:08 remaining until halftime to make the score 27-18. Rock Bridge was whistled for a technical foul on the play, but the Jays missed both free throws and failed to score on the ensuing possession.

Rock Bridge took a 33-20 edge into halftime.

The Bruins delivered the knockout punch in the third quarter. Already ahead 35-24, Rock Bridge scored 16 unanswered points to open up a 51-24 lead. The score was 59-34 heading into the final period.

Jefferson City turned it on a bit in the fourth quarter, using a 9-0 run at one point to get within 61-45. The Jays whittled the lead down to 12 at 68-56 with a little more than two minutes remaining on a jumper from Scott Stegeman. That’s as close as it would get though.

Rock Bridge’s Kreklow led all scorers with 26 points and hit four 3-pointers. Jackson Dubinski added 10 points and 10 Bruins reach the scoring column, a much-needed boost with star guard Nick Norton out with a torn ACL.

Stegeman finished his Jefferson City career with a 20-point effort, including an 18-point second half. O.G. Anunoby added 17 points, tallying 12 of those after halftime.

Jefferson City went just 14-for-24 (58 percent) from the foul line, a number aided by its 9-for-10 mark in the fourth period. The Jays turned the ball over 17 times. Rock Bridge hit 22-of-26 attempts from the free-throw line and coughed the ball up just 11 times.

Rock Bridge (18-8) takes on crosstown rival Hickman (23-2) in the district title game at 7 p.m. today. The Kewpies defeated Camdenton 69-37 earlier Friday night.

Jefferson City ends its season at 8-15.

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