SEDALIA — With 9.7 seconds left, forward Kimberly Lake stepped off the court in her last game for the Hickman girls basketball team. Lake watched the last few seconds from the sidelines as Jefferson City secured its spot in the championship game of the Class 5, District 9 tournament at Smith-Cotton.
"It's hard to say goodbye to four years of your life like that," Lake said after walking out of the locker room with a quiet team. "We just couldn't buy a basket."
The 42-37 Hickman loss was frustrating for Hickman. Hickman held off Jefferson City in the first half, dominating ball possession and forcing turnovers to gain a 18-15 edge at the break.
"I don’t know if there was Vaseline on the ball," Jefferson City coach Shane Meyer said of the first half. "I didn't like how the kids came out."
Hickman (18-8) and Jefferson City battled back-and-forth for the lead in the second half before the Jays (17-9) pulled ahead with key baskets and free throws in the last three minutes. Jefferson City was successful because of its "tremendous amount of resolve," Meyer said.
It was Hickman's second loss to the Jays this season. The Kewpies lost 63-47 on Feb. 7 at home. Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said her team made adjustments in blocking transitional shots, but it could not make the free throws it needed.
Forward Emily Miller led the Kewpies with 10 points. Lake scored eight points but fouled out with less than a minute in the game.
Mirts praised Lake's and the other seniors' contributions to the team.
"They're part of your extended family," Mirts said. "I couldn't have asked them to do any more this season."