With four members of the Hickman Kewpies girls’ basketball team signed to play college basketball, coach Tonya Mirts said she knows each of them are capable of taking over a game. She just didn’t know they could all dominate in one game.
Four Kewpies players scored in double digits in Hickman’s 61-29 win against Rolla on Monday at Hickman.
“Every high school program maybe has one standout,” Mirts said. “Any one of our particular kids could be a high school standout in most places, but they are sacrificing themselves individually to be part of a better team.
“Any particular night one of them can really light it up and they’ve shown that in different games.”
Kaela Rorvig led Hickman (10-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 5, with 15 points. Lauren Harris scored 14, Jodi Bolerjack finished with 12, and Amy Bolerjack had 10. Jodi Bolerjack, who scored the Kewpies first six points, said the Kewpies are a difficult team to defend because they present so many scoring threats.
“Some teams come and scout and they see one thing one night and a different thing another night,” Bolerjack said. “I think that was very true tonight.”
Rolla (3-2) stayed close to the Kewpies after one quarter of play at 11-9, but could not solve Hickman’s press.
“Several times down the floor we did not execute,” coach Bryce Swafford said. “We had a lot of turnovers. Hickman did a tremendous job of picking our passes off. We were lazy with our passes.”
The Kewpies switched to a zone press in the second quarter and forced Rolla into several more bad passes. Rolla struggled to get the ball past the half court line and managed just 19 shots to the Kewpies 28 in the first half. Mirts credited the Kewpies tenacity on defense to experience and the ability to communicate.
“I thought in the second quarter the switch to the zone press really was effective,” Mirts said. “We got a flurry of points there in a hurry and that separated the game. These kids pride themselves. We are senior-laden so they’ve seen a lot of offenses, and they are able to communicate well as a group.”
Instead of passing to get by the press in the first quarter, the Lady Bulldogs tried to dribble through it. Bolerjack said the defensive switch forced the Lady Bulldogs into passing.
“This team was more of a dribbling team; they like to dribble the ball up the floor,” Bolerjack said. “When we went to the zone, it made them want to pass the ball, and they didn’t want to do that.”
The Kewpies finished 17-of-45 from the floor, while Rolla shot 11-of-42. Swafford said Hickman’s defense contributed to the poor shooting percentage, but said his team could not make the easy shots.
“They did a tremendous job of shutting us down,” Swafford said. “I don’t think at all we got into our half court set. When you play a team like Hickman, you just got to play, and we didn’t show up to play.
Although the Kewpies’ press created several fast break attempts, the Kewpies’ offense stalled because of bad passes in transition. Three times in the second quarter the Kewpies had fast breaks stopped by overthrown passes.
“I think we just need to value the basketball a little bit more,” Mirts said.
Bolerjack said she was pleased with her team’s performance, despite the bad passes.
“I thought we did pretty good most of the time,” Bolerjack said. “I think there were a few points where we got a little excited and we turned the ball over.”