Hickman put the press in pressure.
Using a tough press in the third quarter, the Kewpies pulled away from Rock Bridge for a 63-47 win in boys’ basketball at Rock Bridge on Thursday.
The Kewpies took a 45-31 lead at end of the third quarter after the teams were tied at 24 at halftime.
Hickman coach Jim Sutherland said the team has worked to develop a smoother transition between press defense and half-court defense.
“Tonight we did a better job of that, and we took away dribble penetration and I thought we did a pretty good job on perimeter defense,” Sutherland said.
The Kewpies (3-3) used their height advantage to shut down the Bruins.
“We really have been trying to do that all year,” Sutherland said. “We wanted to do some against Jeff City, but I just didn’t think we were ready to throw the ball a block and run sets that would allow us to get the ball there and score. I didn’t think we were ready.”
The smothering defense bottled up Rock Bridge.
“Defense is all we got,” Hickman sophomore Taylor Florence said. “That’s our offense.”
The Bruins scored only seven points in the third quarter.
“We played an all-around game tonight,” Hickman senior Bret Burchard said. “We played really good defense, and made a lot of layups like we have been, and we executed offensively really well. We played smart.”
As the Bruins struggled to make their shots, Hickman succeeded in outrebounding them to take control of the second half.
“I don’t think we’ve outrebounded but one team this year, and in that game, we lost,” Burchard said. “So we’ve been really focused lately on being active on the boards.”
The Kewpies had a 22-15 rebounding advantage.
“I think the big key was that we had a consistent effort throughout the game,” Sutherland said. “We didn’t have the lapses we had in all our other games. And that consistent effort is what we talked about after our last game, and with that effort also comes good rewards, such as getting layups, getting in a flow, knocking the shot down and getting more steals.”
“We played with good heart and intensity, and that wins ball games,” Florence said.
Florence, a guard, led the Kewpies with 13 points.
“I thought (the guards) did a great job,” Sutherland said.
In the second half, the Kewpies had only one turnover, which Sutherland believed was a result of the team’s improving consistency.
“We’ve had scrimmage games where we’ve had only one or two turnovers the entire game,” Sutherland said.