The Columbia College Shootout will give three Columbia basketball teams a chance to get back to winning when they play Saturday.
The Columbia College women’s team has lost two straight, Hickman’s girls’ team is off to a 1-4 start, and Rock Bridge’s girls’ team, which opens its season in the Shootout, is looking to improve a 6-20 record last season.
This will be the third year that the Shootout, which the Show-Me State Games organizes, will be held in the Arena at Southwell Complex. Each of the field’s 10 teams (four college and six high school teams) will play in the series of five back-to-back games that tip off at noon.
COLUMBIA COLLEGE: The Cougars will try to regain control of their season when they face William Penn University at 3:30 p.m.
The Cougars (7-4) jumped out to a 5-0 start but have lost four of their past six games.
The team dropped both its games at the Northwest Missouri State Tournament on Thanksgiving weekend, falling to NMSU 78-65 and Cumberland College 81-45.
The Cougars’ loss to Cumberland on Saturday was their biggest defeat this season and their point total was the lowest in the team’s four year history.
One bright spot at the tournament was the play of senior forward Tilly Payne, who led the Cougars in scoring both games. Payne had 15 points against NMSU and 14 against Cumberland.
A visit from William Penn might be what the Cougars need to turn things around. In the only other meeting between the teams two seasons ago, the Cougars beat the Statesmen 76-51.
— Ezekiel Guza
HICKMAN: The Kewpies are not off to their typical start. They have lost twice as many games as last season, but coach Tonya Mirts remains positive.
“We don’t want to look at a year or two down the line,” she said. “These kids want to be successful now.”
The Kewpies play at 1:45 pm against St. Therese’s of Kansas City.
The Kewpies graduated five starters from last year’s state runner-up and have only one senior.
Mirts said the intensity and work ethic is the same as it has been in her tenure, but there isn’t as much talent around.
“The want to is here,” she said. “Their learning curve is tremendous right now.”
Mirts said the schedule will turn the young Kewpies into experienced players quickly.
“We’re playing tremendous competition,” she said. “That’s what we want to do. These kids want to play teams that are very good and expose their weaknesses because they want to be good.”
— Damien Martin
ROCK BRIDGE: The Bruins will try to erase the memory of losing to Moberly twice last year when they play the Spartans at 7 p.m.
In both games last season, Rock Bridge failed to hold double-digit leads.
“Moberly will come in with some confidence, and should have confidence throughout the game no matter what the score is because of what happened last year,” coach Kevin Giese said.
The Bruins are relying on underclassmen. Freshman point guard Claire Schaeperkotter will run the offense, and sophomore post player Ashley Dressler also will start.
It will be the first time the Bruins appear in the Shootout. In order to be a part of the event, Rock Bridge gave up home court advantage against Moberly in a game that was planned to be played in January.
Giese said he had no qualms about the trade-off.
“I heard about that shootout, went to that shootout when I was at Stephens College and liked that event,” Giese said. “I know it’s a great event and we’re very happy to be in it.”
— Chris Berg