Hickman girls’ basketball coach Tonya Mirts said she wanted her team to focus on defense against Rock Bridge on Wednesday night.
The Kewpies responded in a big way.
The Bruins, who are ranked eighth in the state, only scored two first quarter points and Hickman used its defensive intensity to beat Rock Bridge 43-25 at home.
“I have to hand it to the kids,” Mirts said. “The kids went out there and they executed. That’s a total group (effort).”
The Kewpies (9-10) executed on every defensive aspect and forced Rock Bridge into repeated turnovers.
“I though our communication was tremendous,” Mirts said. “They picked up switches, they called picks, they were on the back side defense, they fronted the post, they rotated on the back side of the ball. They did it all.”
Mirts said junior Sade’ Aaron, who came in off the bench, was one of her strongest defenders.
“She’s tremendously athletic,” Mirts said. “We knew that she could put on some big defensive pressure for us.”
Hickman’s victory snapped Rock Bridge’s six-game winning streak. the Bruins’ (14-3) since falling Jan. 7 against Gateway Tech.
Rock Bridge coach Kevin Giese said the rivalry helped the Kewpies.
“Being ranked didn’t play a part of (the loss) at all,” Giese said. “This is just Rock Bridge going against Hickman and Hickman just whipped us every way they could.”
Hickman guard Megan McCabe led all scorers with 14 points but as the Kewpies’ only senior, Mirts said her on-the-court leadership was more valuable to her team’s success.
“(Megan) wanted this game; it was important to her,” Mirts said.
Sophomore Lauren Nolke scored 12 points for the Kewpies and junior MegAnn Schlader had 11.
Only three players ended up in the scoring column for the Bruins. Senior Rachel Jones had 12 points, sophomore Ashley Dressler added eight and Claire Schaeperkoetter, a freshman, netted five.
Mirts said she sees this game as a big turning point.
“This is a big confidence boost,” Mirts said. “Our district is anyone’s district now. It’s up in the air, but obviously we have our work cut out for us. There’s a lot of games yet to be played.”
Mirts expects her team to play the same type of defense when they take the court Saturday at home against Pembroke Hill.
“I have to raise the level of the bar and say ‘see what you can do’,” Mirts said. “Now we can do that night in and night out.”
Rock Bridge’s next game is at home Monday against Mexico.