COLUMBIA—Friday night was a late-season learning experience for the Hickman girls basketball team.
St. Joseph’s Academy defeated Hickman 54-37 to snap the Kewpies' six-game winning streak.
The Kewpies can learn from their mistakes in the home game against the No. 2 team in the MSHSAA Class 5, according to MaxPreps.
Playing against taller competition is one thing Hickman experienced Friday. St Joseph’s center Sydney Stipanovich, who is 6-foot-3, scored 18 points and was a force blocking shots on defense. Hickman coach Tonya Mirts would’ve preferred her team play differently against Stipanovich.
“We tried to dribble into her and shoot over her rather than penetrating and kicking it out,” Mirts said.
Hickman also got another opportunity to rebuild chemistry with point guard Jade Holly back in the lineup. Holly returned to game action on Wednesday after missing five games with a concussion and is still trying to find her rhythm.
St. Joseph's jumped out to an early lead and never lost their advantage. Hickman played uncharacteristically slow and methodical on offense and trailed 21-11 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the home crowd began to get loud.
Holly scored her first points of the night to cut the Kewpies deficit to 10. The bench leaped in excitement for the senior. Holly's field goal was followed up by an Ellie Johnson steal, making it look like the Kewpies were primed to go on a run to make the game closer heading into the fourth quarter. But an empty possession by Hickman and 3-pointer by St. Joseph’s guard Mary Barton gaveSt. Joseph's a 13-point lead going into the fourth quarter and the life in the gym was gone.
One of the keys of the game for St. Joseph’s head coach Julie Matheny was to prevent Hickman from scoring unanswered points.
“It was important to stop their runs and take the air out of the ball,” Matheny said. "After a timeout it was great to come back and score right away.”
Mirts admitted her team has to work on a lot after their performance, but said the season isn’t lost.
“The basketball season is long enough where you get a second opportunity,” Mirts said.
Hickman has one more regular season game, Thursday night at Sullivan, before the district tournament begins Feb. 25.