WASHINGTON, Mo. — Lauren Harris called it slumpy. Kaela Rorvig was at a loss for words.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t the same Hickman team that won the Class 5 District 10 championship. It wasn’t as intense. It wasn’t as crisp. In the end, it didn’t matter.
The Kewpies defeated Francis Howell 67-44 in a Class 5 sectional Wednesday at Borgia High.
“We didn’t have the same intensity that we had against Jefferson City, which is always frustrating,” senior guard Stephanie Burger said. “But we did get the win and we’re moving on.”
Win sets up rematch with Springfield Kickapoo
Hickman (28-1), ranked 10th in the nation in the USA Today poll, has won 17 straight and will play 15th-ranked Springfield Kickapoo in a state quarterfinal Saturday in Sedalia.
The Kewpies beat the Chiefs 48-46 earlier in the season but memories of last season linger. Kickapoo ended the Kewpies’ state run with a 55-42 win in Sedalia.
“Obviously, from a coaching standpoint you strive for perfection,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said, “and I don’t think these kids are really thrilled about the game that was played (Wednesday), but are very thrilled about the outcome.”
Senior guard Jodi Bolerjack got Hickman rolling, scoring eight of its first 13 points. Francis Howell (19-9) stayed close, finding holes in the Kewpies’ full-court pressure. Eventually, the lack of turnovers forced Mirts to call off the press with 4:49 left in the second quarter. The Kewpies went to a half-court man-to-man.
“I don’t think our intensity was quite there,” Mirts said. “We were a little helter-skelter and I don’t know if we were as focused as we need to be at the beginning of the game.”
Kewpies make run in thrid quarter
Hickman distanced itself in the third quarter. Playing with three fouls, senior guard Stephanie Burger sparked a 15-5 run, scoring six points to give the Kewpies a 24-point lead.
“Offensively they have so many weapons to stop,” Francis Howell coach Dawn Schuster said. “Our team defense was making them work at it, but if they get any inch of freedom then they can it and that’s tough to stop. They found the openings they needed and they don’t need much of an opening. The slightest opening works.”
Harris contributes solid effort in paint
Jodi Bolerjack finished with 20 points. Harris had 14 points, six rebounds and nine blocks.
“Lauren always steps it up and works hard on the defensive end, and we try to reward her on the offensive end,” Burger said.
Harris also rewarded others.
“They were double-teaming (Harris) so it was hard for her to turn around and get her nice jump shot,” Jodi Bolerjack said. “But she distributed the ball and that kept the team going.”