Surrounded by all eight of her seniors, basketball coach Tonya Mirts stood at a trophy case near the concession stand south of the Hickman High gymnasium.
As she ran her fingers across the glass, Mirts smiled and helped the Kewpies envision a trophy in the empty spot beside a second-place district track trophy.
“Right here,” Mirts said.
The Kewpies had good reason to look forward, winning their final home game 60-29 against University City on Saturday to extend their winning streak to 13.
“It makes you feel good,” senior guard Jodi Bolerjack said. “You couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s sad that it’s the last game we’re going to play here, but we’re looking to have a long, long postseason.”
Kewpies defense shined
Hickman, ranked 10th nationally, frustrated the Lions with its defense. Whether it was the Kewpies’ zone press, man-to man, run and jump, or a half-court man, University City struggled to get the ball across half court, let alone get an open shot.
In the second quarter, the Kewpies forced 10 turnovers and held the Lions scoreless until 2:43 remained. Hickman (24-1) also held University City (17-6) without a field goal until the 1:14 mark of the third quarter.
“I thought from a defensive standpoint we played awfully good,” Mirts said. “We did a number of things defensively rather than staying with one particular press and I felt good about what they generated off of that.
“We didn’t necessarily convert every time but I think part of that was emotion of the game and everybody wanting to do so much.”
Streaks buried University City
Hickman might not have converted on every turnover, but it converted often. The Kewpies went on runs of 12-1, 11-0, 13-2 and 13-0.
Hickman’s 13-0 run came in the fourth quarter when it shot 6-for-6. Bolerjack scored five during that stretch, and senior forward Lauren Harris added four.
Harris was Hickman’s biggest defensive threat. She had six blocks and three steals to go with eight points and six rebounds.
“We just didn’t get a lot of open looks and the ones we did get we didn’t put down,” University City coach Tracy Schmidt said. “They get right in your face and anticipate really well. So that was pretty tough for us.”
Bolerjack finished with a game-high 18 points. Senior guard Amy Bolerjack added 11 points, and senior guard Kaela Rorvig scored 10.
“It’s emotional to know that it was the last home game,” senior guard Stephanie Burger said. “But we still have plenty more games to go and we’re looking forward to that.”