COLUMBIA — It's an opportunity the Kewpies can't wait to pursue, even after losing in both meetings with Rock Bridge this season. After all, this time it's for a district title.
In spite of the circumstances, the Kewpies' coach David Johnson stresses that nothing in the game plan has changed.
Hickman (15-10) vs. Rock Bridge (22-4)
Where: Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia
When: 7:45 p.m. Friday
“We just have to go out there and play basketball,” Johnson said. “We have had a great week of practice. Our players really worked hard and pushed each other.”
In their most recent game against the Bruins on Jan. 24, the Kewpies had a tough time slowing down Rock Bridge center Austin Ray. A Colorado football recruit, Ray scored 19 points while dominating on offensive and defensive rebounds throughout the game.
On Friday, the responsibility of defending Ray will fall on Kewpie forwards El Dorema and Deandre Pennington. Senior Andrew Berry, who is normally the starting center for the Kewpies, is still nursing a mild concussion that has limited his playing time.
Pennington, who started in the Kewpies district semifinal win over Jefferson City, has impressed Johnson with his effort in practice the past few weeks.
“He earned that starting spot," Johnson said. "We tell our guys that is why we compete.”
Hickman will play Rock Bridge in the Class 5 District 9 final at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia.