Top-ranked Raiders suffer first loss of season in playoff-like atmosphere against Bruins
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Almost everything about the way Sunday played out — from the two-hour road trip to playing on a college-sized court — had the hallmark of a classic postseason matchup.
All except the end result for the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team.
Tied at 45 with four minutes to play in regulation, Columbia Rock Bridge knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers to gain the necessary separation to secure a 65-58 victory in the final game of the Sophie Cunningham Classic at Columbia College’s Southwell Complex.
It is the first loss for Class 2A’s defending state champion and top-ranked team, but one the Raiders embrace as a learning tool.
“Especially playing against the big girl and the dribble drive with them having both of those, that’s something we hadn’t really seen yet,” QND senior guard Abbey Schreacke said. “That will help us down the stretch. We definitely will see that again.”
The atmosphere was unlike anything the Raiders had seen to date, especially for the freshmen.
“It definitely felt like we were in February,” Schreacke said.
The Raiders intend to still be playing then.
“This was on a college court, which is what you hope to eventually play on at the end of the year,” QND coach Eric Orne said.
QND (7-1) could see teams in February with similar size to Rock Bridge freshmen center Jayda Porter, the 6-foot-2 youngest sister of Denver Nuggets guard Michael Porter Jr., and athletic ability to Malia Chievous, the daughter of Mizzou all-time leading scorer Derrick Chievous.
Porter scored 14 points and disrupted play in the lane the entire game, while Chievous made back-to-back 3-pointers with the game tied that fueled the Bruins final push.
“You have a team that gives you mismatch issues with their height and their quickness,” Orne said. “It was a well-played, kind of sectional toughness game. We had a few shots go in and out, and if you get them back, maybe things are good at the end.
“But you come here and get a good experience and some great exposure. You see things you don’t normally see. This will help us if we come back tomorrow and have a good practice.”
And make adjustments.
“They were ball pressuring us at random times,” Schreacke said. “So that’s something we have to learn to react to.”
Rock Bridge (2-1) reacted well to Schreacke’s early barrage.
She made four consecutive 3-pointers in the first half — breaking the QND career scoring record previously held by former Mizzou standout Jordan Frericks in the process — and scored 16 of the Raiders’ first 18 points. The Bruins altered their defensive game plan and clamped down on Schreacke’s ability to get the ball in open space.
“That’s when we tried to run special sets,” Schreacke said. “Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s what makes it tough.”
Still, she finished with a game-high 32 points.
“They knew they couldn’t let her get 40 and have a chance to win,” Schreacke said. “That’s where we, as a team, have to all step up. We have a good offense where all five people can score, but we just need to take advantage when they do clamp down on her to get everyone involved.
“And more teams are going to clamp down on her as we progress on.”
That’s why Orne sees the loss as a valuable tool if the Raiders learn from it.
“You have to understand what it takes sometimes when things aren’t going so well and a team is really defending you hard to get over the hump and take that next step,” Orne said.
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