COLUMBIA — Aqua Corpening looked like a football player.
After struggling to make noise offensively in the first half, the Hickman senior girls basketball player flashed her athleticism by intercepting a pass at midcourt to set up a scoring possession in the third quarter. Later, she showcased her long arms with a fierce one-handed pass from the top of the key to sophomore Jade Holly at the baseline.
Corpening's heroics were not enough for the Kewpies, who lost 47-40 to visiting rival Rock Bridge on Wednesday night.
Despite matching the Bruins (14-4) in intensity for most of the game, Hickman (13-6) found itself in foul trouble early and missed opportunities by committing key turnovers late.
"The bottom line is, we gave them way too many free throws," Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. "Those are freebies."
According to Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel, the strategy was to contain the Kewpies' dynamic guards. Although Corpening and Holly combined for 29 points, the Bruins were able to limit the damage and take control in the fourth quarter.
"(Aqua) and Jade are very good players and so we wanted to really try and prevent the drives as much as possible," Nagel said. "But they're both dual threat players. It's a tough assignment."
That challenge was met by a Rock Bridge squad that uses height to its advantage. Junior Carmen Boessen and sophomore Hannah Dressler, who are both 6 feet tall, led the way with Boessen scoring 12 and Dressler adding 10.
"They played their game," Hickman junior Andrea Drake said. "They really didn't have any dry periods where they really didn't get anything. They were consistent."
Despite being a home game for Hickman, Rock Bridge sported a vocal fan base to match the Kewpies supporters, reinforcing the intensity of the rivalry.
"To our kids, this is the biggest game of the year, because these are the kids they grew up with, and it's bragging rights," Mirts said. "They're the ones to knock off."