BOLIVAR – The Branson girls basketball team knew what it was up against.
And for the second time this season, the Lady Pirates couldn’t overcome the size and quickness of the Rock Bridge Lady Bruins.
“That’s a pretty doggone good team,” Branson coach Kip Bough said on Saturday after Branson suffered a 42-27 loss to Rock Bridge in a Class 5 quarterfinal game at Southwest Baptist University.
The Lady Pirates (25-5) fell to the Lady Bruins (25-5) 56-24 on Dec. 28 in the Pink and White Tournament. Bough said it was the best team Branson faced this season.
“I think Rock Bridge is probably the best because of their length, their guards and their ability to shoot,” Bough said.
The Lady Bruins established a 16-6 lead after the first quarter before holding Branson scoreless in the second to extend the lead to 24-6 at halftime.
The Lady Pirates didn’t quit.
Branson pulled within 33-19 after the third and trailed by 10 with 6:55 to play in the fourth following a basket by Lauren Garrison.
That’s as close as the Lady Pirates would get.
“It really wasn’t an adjustment, it was just kind of a reminder to try to calm them down — just reminding them that they’re competitors and that they compete,” Bough said. “I said, ‘How do you want to be remembered?’ They wanted to be remembered as competitors and I think that’s what you saw.”
Garrison, Amanda Kearney and Victoria Odell all finished with six points, while Terra Utz-Depriest added five points and eight rebounds to lead the Lady Pirates.
Katey Klucking poured in a game-high 18 points while Duke signee Madison Treece finished with nine to lead the Lady Bruins, who will take on Kirkwood (26-3) in a semifinal game at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Mizzou Arena.
Branson, which also had losses to Skyline, Carl Junction and Nixa, turned some heads this postseason when the Lady Pirates claimed a 58-54 win against Kickapoo in the District 11 championship game. Branson went on to beat Republic 60-42 in a sectional game for its 10th straight win before taking on Rock Bridge.
“They’re a great group of kids, great competitors,” Bough said. “I’m proud of them, because who they are as kids. They’re a special group.”
High school girls basketball Class 5 quarterfinal
Rock Bridge 42, Branson 27
At Southwest Baptist University
Rock Bridge 16-8-9-9—42
Rock Bridge—Katey Klucking 18, Madison Treece 9, Payton McCallister 8, Paige Peterson 4, Elexandria 3
Branson—Lauren Garrison 6, Gracie Jaeger 4, Amanda Kearney 6, Victoria Odell 6, Terra Utz-depriest 5