COLUMBIA — When the final buzzer sounded, Hickman girls basketball coach Tonya Mirts looked at a group of reporters, wiped her brow and breathed a sigh of relief.
No. 7 Hickman (12-5) came out strong after trailing 20-15 at halftime to win 44-37 over rival No. 6 Rock Bridge (13-5) on Wednesday. Hickman senior Yvonne Anderson led all scorers with 27 points.
Anderson was slow to start, scoring only two points in the first quarter, but she improved quickly to score 19 points in the second half.
“Her (Anderson’s) intent was to get everybody involved early,” Mirts said.
Anderson said an ankle injury also held her back at first, but she knew she had to respond to keep her team in the game.
“I realized I had to go score if we were going to do anything.” Anderson said.
Anderson’s offense was something Rock Bridge sophomore Amaya Williams said she knew to expect.
“She’s going to get her points every night,” Williams said. “You just try to play the best you can on her.”
Williams said her focus now is for Rock Bridge to bounce back from the loss. Rock Bridge plays its next game at 6 p.m. Friday at Boonville.
Hickman faces a busy weekend with games Friday at St. Teresa’s and Saturday at Pembroke Hill. Mirts said she was cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season after the win over Rock Bridge.
“Magic can exist for our team,” Mirts said. “But we have a lot of work to do.”
With the busy weekend, Mirts was also concerned about illness spreading through the team.
At halftime, Hickman forward Miriam Tesfamikael was clearly ill, but she continued to play, finishing with four points.