It pays to concentrate on all facets of the game.
On a night when shots weren’t falling, the Hickman girls’ basketball team found other ways to produce in a 63-45 win against Helias on Wednesday at Hickman.
Megan McCabe led the Kewpies (4-7) with 18 points and nine steals, hitting all 14 of her free throws. Hickman went 30-for-36 from the foul line and had a season-high 20 steals.
The Kewpies shot 35 percent from the field, but still led 41-18 at halftime thanks to defense and free-throw shooting.
“We really got after it,” coach Tonya Mirts said. “We covered each other pretty well (on defense). We were aggressive in our traps and scrambled back to help out when they got out of the traps.”
With leading scorer Lauren Nolke shooting only 4-for-14, Sade’ Aaron took a more offensive role, scoring 10 points.
“She gave us a huge lift,” Mirts said. “She has great athleticism and takes the ball to the basket hard.”
Nolke, who scored a career-high 26 in Hickman’s previous game, said Aaron’s performance took some pressure off of her.
“It’s very important that other people get involved (in the offense), especially when I’m not shooting my best,” Nolke, who finished with 14 points, said. “Somebody else always steps up when we need it.”
Lyndsay Schlup, Helias’ tallest player at 6-foot-1, came out after picking up her third foul with 1:08 to go in the first quarter. Hickman took advantage by outrebounding the Crusaders 40-27.
“Usually we don’t do a very good job on the boards,” Mirts said. “That was big for us because most of our players are skinny and aren’t very physical.”
Forward MegAnn Schlader scored six points and had five steals and Shana White added eight points in the post for the Kewpies.
Helias rallied in the fourth quarter, cutting a 28-point deficit to 12, but McCabe and Schlader combined for three steals in the final minute to stave off a comeback.
“We’re a young team,” Mirts said. “Sometimes young teams tend to lose focus, but we finished it off at the end.”
Mirts said it was nice to be back at Hickman Gym, where the Kewpies hadn’t played since a season-opening loss to Notre Dame de Sion.
“It was great to be at home for a change,” she said. “Our schedule has been brutal. We’ve got to back on the road again (today) at Parkway South (in St. Louis). There aren’t very many teams that play 12 games before Christmas break. That’s also been hard on our younger players.”
Mirts said she expects the victory to provide a morale boost.
“It feels a lot better than being 3-7,” she said. “We will continue to stay positive and try to turn this season around.”