Kewpies face rare challenge

Friday, January 9, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:06 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Picking on smaller in-state opponents has been quite the remedy for the Hickman girls’ basketball team after its first and only loss.

To keep their new winning streak going, the Kewpies will have to pick on a team from Kansas much more their size.

Bishop Miege, the two-time defending Kansas Class 5 champion, visits Hickman on Saturday, and Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said it’s a game that win or lose, the Kewpies will find out much more about themselves going into the stretch run of the season.

“Any game you can play against an opponent like Bishop Miege can help you in the long run,” Mirts said.

The varsity game follows the junior varsity game, which begins at 4 p.m.

After a heartbreaking two-point loss to Republic in the KTXR Lady Classic in Springfield on Dec. 28, the Kewpies (15-1) haven’t let any of their games since get that close.

Hickman, ranked 17th in the country in the USAToday Super 25 rankings, has won each of its past four games by at least 20 points. That includes an 80-38 win at Helias on Saturday, a game in which every Kewpie scored.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Mirts said. “I think they played they way they’re used to playing.”

The Kewpies’ depth has been their best advantage to such a great start, and a key to their response to their only loss. Amy and Jodi Bolerjack, Lauren Harris and Kaela Rorvig have emerged as offensive leaders.

“In any game, any one of those five can have a great game offensively,” Mirts said. “In high school basketball, that’s truly hard to find.”

Bishop Miege, of Shawnee Mission, is ranked fourth in the Kansas Class 5 rankings after winning its second consecutive state championship in 2003. It’s the most decorated girls’ basketball program in the state with 14 state titles, eight more than any other school in Kansas.

It was the perfect opponent for Mirts, who wanted to give the Kewpies plenty of experience against good teams before the district and state tournaments. As an independent, the Kewpies don’t have to worry about conference obligations when they set up their schedule, and that gives Mirts the opportunity to schedule tough opponents.

“These are the games that we like to schedule,” Mirts said. “Obviously, you don’t want to drive three hours for every game, but a team as formidable as Bishop Miege is the kind of team we’d like to play.”

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