The Hickman girls’ basketball team took another step toward regaining their form of last season.
The Kewpies beat Kirksville 48-38 on Monday night at Hickman.
After losing in the state title game in 2004, the Kewpies haven’t seen the same promise in this year’s team, which started the New Year with a losing record and a humiliating 22-point loss to Glendale before a tough game against Kansas power Bishop Miege on Saturday.
The Kewpies, though, beat Bishop Miege 59-53. Coming off the big victory, Hickman moved closer to .500 on Monday at 7-8.
The kids are really starting to believe,” Hickman girls’ basketball coach Tonya Mirts said. “They are starting to build confidence.”
Hickman took an early lead into the second quarter. A 7-minute scoring drought helped Kirksville (5-6) build a 21-17 lead at the half.
“There were a lot of things that we had done poorly, but we were only down by four,” Mirts said. “We made some adjustments at the half. We tried to attack the basket with Megan (McCabe) and Lauren Nolke. It really worked well for us.”
In the third quarter, the Kewpies outscored the Tigers 14-5 and regained the lead for good.
The game was a sloppy battle of give-aways, take-aways and low shooting percentage. Hickman overcame 14-of-43 field goal shooting, with tough defense and Tiger mistakes.
Although the Kewpies committed 12 turnovers Hickman won the possession battle. Senior guard Megan McCabe said the Hickman press changed the game for the team.
“Our full-court press got us some turnovers, and we got some easy baskets,” McCabe said. “Once we got those baskets, our offense started to flow.”
The press forced many of Kirksville’s 23 turnovers. Hickman also made 13 steals in the game.
McCabe, the only senior, led Hickman with 20 points, eight of which came at the free-throw line. The Tigers fouled McCabe six times in the act of shooting. She was 8-of-10 from the line. McCabe played all but 21 seconds of the game.
“I’m used to getting a lot of minutes. I’ve been playing most of the game the entire year,” McCabe said. “I guess coming in as the only senior, people are looking to me to fill the leadership role.”
Freshman guard Miriam Tesfamikael and sophomore guard Lauren Nolke added 10 and 9 points respectively for the Kewpies.
“We’re a real young team, and we’re really staring to mesh together right now,” McCabe said. “We’re really picking up some momentum now, and in the heart of our schedule, it’s a good time to do it.”