JEFFERSON CITY – After a week and a half layoff, senior guard Jodi Bolerjack said Hickman was worried it wouldn’t be as sharp as usual.
It took three early misses and the rust disappeared.
The Kewpies used hot shooting and defensive pressure to defeat Rock Bridge 67-33 on Thursday at Helias in the Class 5 District 10 semifinal.
Top-seed Hickman will face second-seeded Jefferson City High in the championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“It felt good to play again,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “It took us a little before we got our first score, but it’s a playoff type atmosphere and I think everybody was a little antsy.”
Hickman, ranked ninth nationally, opened the game on an 11-0 run. Jodi Bolerjack scored seven points in the span. The Kewpies’ defense forced seven turnovers and held the fourth-seeded Bruins (6-19) scoreless until 2:51 remained in the first quarter.
After Rock Bridge cut the lead to 11-4, Hickman went on a 17-0 run that spanned the next 5:04. Jodi and Amy Bolerjack both scored seven points during the run.
The Kewpies (26-1), who have won 15 straight games, shot 58 percent in both the first and second quarters.
Stingy defense puts Kewpies up early
Rock Bridge attempted 12 field goals in the first half.
“Whenever we play defense really well then that obviously turns into easy baskets on offense, which caused our field goal percentage to go up a lot,” senior guard Stephanie Burger said.
In the third quarter, the Kewpies maintained their intensity. Hickman outscored Rock Bridge 23-7, shot 10-of-17 from the field, forced five turnovers and allowed six field goal attempts.
“It was nice to see our perimeter shots go in on a night when they were trying to double Harris,” Mirts said. “I think that’s what’s makes us dangerous: the balance that we have on our team, the perimeter as well as the inside game.”
Bolerjacks pace Hickman offense
The Bolerjacks’ prepared for Thursday’s game by spending extra time in the gym, practicing their shots. Amy worked on keeping her left elbow closer to her body.
“(Amy) does not need to work on her shot,” senior guard Rachel Conrad said, “But if she’s a little off she goes and works on it.”
Jodi Bolerjack finished with a game-high 18 points. Amy Bolerjack added 13. Both finished the night 5-of-7 from the field.
Senior guard Kaela Rorvig had 14 points for the Kewpies and Lauren Harris added 10 points, eight blocks and four rebounds.
“When they’re hot, they’re hot,” Rock Bridge coach Bob Plourde said. “We gave them the best shot that we could have.”
“I think we’re at a point where we feel pretty good about what we’re doing on the floor and we need to maintain that,” Mirts said.