COLUMBIA — “Your cooperation is greatly appreciated,” Hickman’s public address announcer pleaded to fans before the tipoff of Wednesday night’s girls basketball game between Rock Bridge and host Hickman.
After an on-court altercation at the end of Tuesday’s boys basketball game between the Bruins and Kewpies at Rock Bridge, those in attendance for Wednesday’s girls basketball game at Hickman were notified of the consequences of rushing the court.
“It’s something everybody thought about,” Columbia police officer Steve McCormack said about Tuesday’s altercation.
Despite Tuesday's events, McCormack said the six officers assigned to Wednesday's game were there mostly because of the capacity crowd that showed up for the girls game.
The first contest between the programs at Hickman’s new gymnasium offered the same intensity and quality of basketball as Tuesday night’s game without the postgame chaos that led to the benches and stands clearing at Rock Bridge.
“I think our kids handled themselves with class,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said after the game.
Hannah Dressler got Rock Bridge off to a fast start, scoring four of her team’s first seven points to give the Bruins an early 9-3 lead. Dressler exited the game early with an injury in the third quarter and finished with eight points.
Despite their size disadvantage, the Kewpies continually attempted to attack the basket, drawing eight fouls in the first half. The Kewpies continued to chip at Rock Bridge’s lead through Jade Holly’s penetration from the point. The senior guard gave Hickman its first lead, 15-14, after two bonus shots from the line.
“In the second quarter we got away from our game plan,” Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel said.
After some halftime adjustments, the Bruins began to execute that game plan, getting forward Cierra Porter (15 points) involved down low.
“She (Cierra) played big, and we needed her to play big,” Nagel said.
With an effective press from the Bruins, Hickman was unable to regain the lead they took into the second half. A big 3-pointer from Chayla Cheadle (15 points) sealed the game for Rock Bridge, and the Bruins went on to win 46-34.
Nagel said she was happy with the win but was also happy for how her team handled the ecstatic atmosphere.
“It’s always great when you come to Hickman,” Nagel said. “It was fun for them, and that’s what high school basketball is all about.”