COLUMBIA — "We are Hickman!" bounced off of the walls of a full gymnasium at Hickman High School on Tuesday night as an unusually packed student section cheered for the girls basketball team.
Students came to enjoy consecutive girls and boys basketball games against Jefferson City High School. Although the Jays defeated the Kewpies 63-47 in the girls game, the charged crowd benefited both of the Hickman basketball programs.
"A lot more people get a chance to see the girls," said Athletic Director Doug Mirts. "It's nice when the student body gets to see two sets."
The energy of the crowd built as more and more students filed into the stands. Their enthusiasm helped the Kewpies close the gap during the second half. Hickman trailed 40-36 at the end of the third period before the Jays surged ahead to finish the game with a decisive victory.
Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said the Kewpies (17-6) put forth a great effort against a team that had a lot of "weapons."
The boys basketball team enjoyed the same fan support. The crowd held "Kewpie Nation" signs as the boys starters ran through a tunnel of teammates and cheerleaders before the start of their game.
Some members of the girls team traded their spots on the court with the boys and stayed to watch them face the Jays. According to junior forward Cherish Walton, the reciprocal support is encouraging. Both teams try to attend each others games while balancing their own busy schedules.
"We try to support them as much as they support us," Walton said.
The Hickman girls team hosts Ozark at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.