The Rock Bridge boys basketball team knew it wasn’t walking into an easy atmosphere at Hickman.
A much-improved Kewpies team from last season nearly defeated second-ranked Webster Groves on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins’ veteran squad didn’t take their crosstown rivals from north on Providence Road lightly and defeated them 77-50 Tuesday night at Hickman High School.
Rock Bridge’s Isiaih Mosley led all scorers with 33 points followed by Ja’Monta Black with 23 and six 3-pointers. Hickman was led by Jarvis Jennings with 19 points.
“They carried out a plan, they were focused,” Rock Bridge head coach Jim Scanlon said. “I thought they played with class”
Both teams came out firing with made baskets on seven of the game’s first nine possessions -- including Black hitting four of five from 3-point range.
For the game’s first six minutes, the team’s traded buckets and Hickman held a lead for a majority of the time.
Then, the Bruins (16-3) settled in and started to create a gap between the teams.
In the 10 minutes before halftime, Rock Bridge extended its lead from one point to 20, many from the hands of Mosley -- who had 17 second-quarter points.
“I thought they really answered the bell,” Scanlon said about Mosley and Black’s play against the Kewpies. “We’re pretty balanced, but they were hitting shots. Ja’Monta shot the ball real well and that kind of opened us up and it kept us going to start the game.
“When they’re running so smooth and play together so smooth, it’s kind of enjoyable to watch from a coach’s standpoint -- just to watch those guys play together.”
In the second half, Rock Bridge continued to put its foot on the gas and extended its lead over Hickman (6-14) and reached the running clock with exactly three minutes to go in the game.
“We’re seniors, so it’s our last game at Hickman so it meant a lot to us to come out here and just put on a show for our city,” Black said, standing next to Mosley and fellow Missouri State commit Dajuan Harris -- who finished the game with 10 points. “It’s a rivalry game, so it felt good to go out there and play good.”
The win over Hickman maybe more importantly gives the Bruins a quality victory over a district opponent -- as the team’s share Class 5 District 9 with Belton, Raymore-Peculiar and Smith-Cotton.
“The lessons you can take from this is this is practice for what districts might be like. We might end up facing against them in (the) first round, second round,” Hickman head coach Cray Logan said.
Hickman knows it won’t get a 42-point performance from Jennings, like he did Saturday, every game. The Kewpies hope to find more consistent scoring across their lineup when they return to action Friday on the road for their second straight crosstown-rivalry game against Battle.
“We got to have more guys that can score and knock down those shots,” Logan said.
Rock Bridge doesn’t have long to relive the in-town victory as top-ranked Rockhurst comes to town to face the Bruins on Friday night.
The Hawklets ended January undefeated, but have lost to Blue Springs South and Creighton Prep (Neb.) in February.
Scanlon said his team will work on rebounding in the coming days as Rockhurst has a tall and lengthy squad.
“It’s going to be a good game,” Black said. “They got to stop us too.”
Mosley and Harris added after the game that there’s still another level that the Bruins believe they can raise their game to.
“We’re about 90 percent right now,” Black added. “Once it gets to that district time, it’s a wrap.”