It took a while for the Smith-Cotton Tigers to score Tuesday night.
Once they scored they found themselves too far behind to catch Hickman, which defeated the Tigers 66-38 at Hickman.
It took the Tigers 4:09 to score on a pair of Dan Woolery free throws, and they trailed 15-2 at the end of the first quarter.
“Before we got our feet wet, they had already started playing basketball,” Tigers coach Darrin Christian said. “Once we started playing basketball, we didn’t do too bad.”
As soon as Smith-Cotton (7-13) got its offense going in the second quarter, Mikel Fields, Hickman’s 6-foot-5 center, got rolling.
Fields scored six second-quarter points, including two on a fast-break dunk halfway through the period, on the way to a team-high 14. He also had six rebounds and four blocks for the Kewpies (10-11).
“We just wanted to make sure we controlled the tempo of the game,” Fields said.
Taylor Florence led the Kewpies’ perimeter attack with 13 points.
“Taylor’s our spark plug,” Hickman coach Jim Sutherland said. “He can jump-start us and get after it defensively.”
Florence and Kewpies guard Patrick Phillips played important roles in limiting Woolery, the Tigers’ leading scorer, to four points in the first half. The Tigers’ perimeter game provided much of the offense in the first quarter with nine of their first 15 points coming on 3-pointers. Kyle Smith shot 50 percent from 3-point range as one of five Kewpies to score six points.
“In the last five games, we’ve matured in our shot selection, (we’re) a very unselfish ball club, though we haven’t always had the right chemistry to get it to the right guy,” Sutherland said.
Hickman’s defense loosened in the third quarter, allowing Tigers forward Richard Curd to rebound from a scoreless first half and score 10 points in the quarter. Curd finished with 12 points, five rebounds and a block.
“I got on to him a little bit at halftime,” Christian said. “And he turned it up a notch.”
Hickman found it hard in the second half to maintain its intensity with a 17-point lead at halftime.
Although Smith-Cotton improved its scoring in the second half, it could not overcome a poor rebounding effort.
“In the second half we didn’t block out well and we gave up second, third and sometimes even fourth chances,” Christian said.