With the shots not falling, Hickman turned to what has been its savior: its defense.
The Kewpies girls’ basketball team used tough defense to beat Parkway South 71-29 on Saturday at the Arena of Southwell Complex.
“After the St. Joseph game, (coach Tonya Mirts) told us to throw everything we had at them with our press,” Kewpies guard Amy Bolerjack said.
After missing their first six shots, the Kewpies’ full-court press spurred a 9-0 run. Hickman (20-1) scored easy baskets off forced turnovers as it kept its defensive intensity throughout the game.
On Monday, the Kewpies overcame an 18-point third-quarter deficit with a full-court press to defeat St. Joseph’s Academy, ranked No. 1 in Class 5, 48-46.
“(Defense) is the trademark of our team,” guard Megan McCabe said. “If our defense gets going well, then our offense picks up.”
McCabe finished with 10 points and four rebounds against the Patriots (13-5).
Hickman, ranked 11th nationally in the USA Today poll, forced more than five turnovers and shot better than 50 percent in each of the final three quarters. In the second quarter, the Kewpies scored 12 consecutive points from close in during a 15-0 run. Hickman added another 10-0 run in the third quarter.
“We knew the key to our success depended on our handling of the press, which we didn’t do,” Patriots coach Thomas Williams said. “They jumped up on us quickly and outclassed us in every aspect of the game. If you catch them on a bad shooting night you can play with them, but when they’re getting 5-foot shots there is no reason to shoot outside.”
The Kewpies had five players score in double figures to the delight of Mirts.
“I was pleased with the fact that we put five offensive threats on the floor at the same time,” Mirts said.
Kaela Rorvig scored eight in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 15 points. Lauren Harris added 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Amy and Jodi Bolerjack each had 12 points and five rebounds.
“I’m a little frustrated,” Williams said. “At Parkway South, we never want to step on the floor and make it easy for the other team.”