Lady Jays show some fight in falling to No. 1 Rock Bridge

The results were similar. The post-game attitudes were 180 degrees different.

On Tuesday, the Jefferson City Lady Jays fell 55-19 at home to the Hickman Kewpies. Thursday night, the Lady Jays dropped a 61-23 decision to Rock Bridge at Fleming Fieldhouse.

“We played hard, we didn’t Tuesday,” Lady Jays coach Dan Ridgeway said Thursday. “We didn’t have any energy that night. Tonight, we played with great energy and competed.”

Rock Bridge, ranked No, 1 in Class 5, is receiving attention in many national polls. The Bruins’ top six players are either NCAA Division I basketball or volleyball players.

“They can make you look bad,” Ridgeway said. “But we did some good things. We looked good at times, we attacked, we just had too many turnovers and they had too much size for us to do a lot on the boards.

“They’re good and they played well.”

Megan Foster’s layup on the opening possession gave Jefferson City a 2-0 lead Thursday night. By the time the Lady Jays got another shot midway through the first quarter, they had committed five turnovers and were trailing 10-2.

Jefferson City finished with nine turnovers in the opening quarter as Rock Bridge took a 21-3 lead.

The Lady Jays put together a nice run midway through the second quarter. Tayler LePage’s layup and two free throws sandwiched around a bucket by Kezia Martin proved a 6-0 spurt that made it 30-10.

“We battled on every possession, we competed and that’s all we asked the girls to do,” Ridgeway said.

But the Bruins had an answer, closing the half with an 11-2 run. Sophie Cunningham’s putback at the buzzer gave Rock Bridge a 41-12 advantage at intermission.

“There are very few times in your high school career when you get a chance to play a nationally ranked team in any sport,” Ridgeway said. “In a game like this, you find out who you are. Not a basketball player, but as competitor and not someone who whines and complains.”

Rock Bridge was 16-of-26 (62 percent) from the field in the first half.

Cunningham, who finished with a game-high 22 points, had nine of those in the third quarter as Rock Bridge took a 59-17 head into the final period. Bri Ellis came off the bench to add 12 for Rock Bridge (18-3).

Foster led Jefferson City (8-13) with 10 points.

The game marked the end of a four-week stretch in which the Lady Jays played five of the top 10 teams in Class 5.

“We have three regular-season games left, now it’s time to regroup and get ready for districts,” Ridgeway said.

The Lady Jays are back in action Thursday at home against Battle.

In Thursday’s junior varsity game, Jefferson City (11-7) posted a 31-21 victory against Rock Bridge.

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