Last night, Wednesday Feb. 19, as the girls’ basketball team prepared to take on Miller Career Academy (MCA), the crowd started to filter in. Shades of pink cluttered the fan section in order to honor RBHS’ pink out theme. The girls on the team wore warm up shirts that honored the passing of former player Katey Klucking’s mom, who lost her battle with breast cancer this last summer. Senior Caitlin Hayes, having played with Klucking during the 2017-2018 season, reflected on the importance of the game before taking to the court.
“We all just kind of knew how important the game was, and that if we focused and followed the game plan we would come out with an important win,” Hayes said. “I feel like there were a lot of people in the [RBHS] community that knew of someone or knew of someone that had battled cancer. My grandma had breast cancer, and the shirts that we made had a lot of people on it that we knew had battled cancer.”
Despite suffering a broken nose in the previous game against Jefferson City High School on Thursday Feb. 13, sophomore guard Averi Kroenke started for the Bruins. She chose to wear a mask that protected her nose from further damage in order to play. Although Kroenke’s surgery isn’t scheduled until this weekend, she still scored 22 points against the Phoenixes, contributing to the Bruins’ 73-55 win.
“I learned on Tuesday that I had broken my nose. They told me if I wanted to play I would have to get a mask, so I went right after the appointment and got one. I wanted to play really bad so I did everything I could to be able to,” Kroenke said. “I just love the game and I wanted to be there for my teammates.”
While the Bruins were able to secure an 18 point win, the game started close. The Bruins won the tip with sophomore center Kyrah (KK) Brodie winning the tip off. Junior guard Sanaa’ St. Andre received the tipped ball and passed the ball to junior guard Mary Primus, who scored on a breakaway layup. Even with having all of their regular starters in the game and a quick two points, the Bruins only held a three point lead, only leading MCA 17-14 as they went into the second quarter. However, after reconvening they continued to attack the basket and were able to continuously strengthen their lead. As the clock hit zero in the fourth quarter, the Bruins had pulled out a win, not just for themselves but also for those who battled or are battling cancer.
“I love when we have a good crowd for our games because I feel like it brings energy and it’s really fun to play in front of our fans,” Kroenke said. “So I thought it had a good effect on my game.”