COLUMBIA — It wasn’t the emphatic end to the season they were looking for.
The Hickman Kewpies (23-1) finished off their one-loss season with an uninspired 56-45 win over the Sullivan Eagles (21-6).
Senior point guard Jordan Matthews turned it over on the first possession and throughout the game.
She was also a liability on defense.
Matthews is 5-foot-5 and lacks any size. Whoever she was guarding would cut to the basket and crash the boards. Matthews looked helpless in the post.
“Our defense was not very good, and we couldn’t get a rebound,” said fellow senior guard Kendahl Adams.
During the fourth quarter, Matthews stopped moving her feet on defense and played flat. She finished with one point and won’t remember her final game fondly.
Coach Tonya Mirts was forced to call multiple timeouts to pick her team up throughout the game, and spent most of the breaks in Matthews’ face.
A couple of hustle plays by Adams and big shots by Adams, junior Emily Miller and junior Katie Storm maintained the Kewpie lead throughout.
Miller finished with 20 points, Adams with 15 and Storm with 10.
“Katie really stepped up,” Adams said. The points Storm scored, her teammates said, were crucial.
Storm hit two corner threes, each when the game was close.
“Our team really needed that confidence boost,” Storm said.
The Kewpies pushed the pace, which led to mistakes and turnovers. However, it also tired the Eagles.
By the end of the third quarter, Sullivan guard Tessa Johanning had arms and a face the color of a tomato.
It was the first close game the Kewpies had been in this month, and tensions were high during and after the game.
After the game, Mirts declined to answer questions about Matthews but said the teams as a whole had a “real poor performance.”
The team did finish the game strong, but they didn’t quite put an exclamation mark on the end of their season.
The district tournament will begin for the Kewpies on Thursday. The presumed title game against Rock Bridge, the lone team that beat Hickman this season, would come March 8.
Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.