The Hickman girls’ basketball team has won its district championship the past five years in a row.
After an up-and-down season, the 13-14 Kewpies have their eyes set on No. 6, and after a convincing 57-18 win Monday night, they’re looking like they might make it.
Hickman jumped out to an 11-0 first-quarter lead against Camdenton in the opening round of the Class 5, District 10 tournament at Rock Bridge and ran to an easy victory.
“At this point, all we were concerned about was getting a ‘W’ and advancing,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “It doesn’t matter if it was by one or by any other number.”
Third-seeded Hickman used tenacious defense to force the sixth-seeded Lakers into turnovers early. Camdenton gave the ball up six times in the first two minutes, 52 seconds.
“We sat in half court man and we tried to play regular man-to-man principles,” Mirts said. “I think our first unit can put an awful lot of pressure on people in just the half court set.”
Limiting Camdenton to second chance shots and forcing turnovers enabled the Kewpies to get fast break opportunities in the first half.
“(The fast breaks were) a result of our cleaning the glass and taking care of the half-court defensive pressure,” Mirts said. “We cleaned the glass, not let them get a good shot and getting the ball out into transition. That’s something that we’ve improved upon as the season has gone by.”
Hickman’s defense allowed Camdenton (3-21) two field goals in each of the first two quarters.
Sophomore Lauren Nolke and junior Lauren Lloyd nailed open jump shots to get the Kewpies going early on the offensive end.
“I just think Lauren Lloyd has added so much to our team in the sense that creates another offensive threat from the outside,” Mirts said. “It really takes the pressure off of Nolke a little bit. Now that teams are having to concentrate on both, it’s going to free one or the other up.”
Nolke finished with a game-high 14 points while Lloyd added eight.
“We thought they might play some zone so I knew that they both could have a pretty big game,” Mirts said.
Leading 45-14 with 2:23 left in the third quarter, Mirts pulled her starters and let her bench finish the game.
“It’s definitely fun to see those who don’t get to play very much or those who just moved up to districts just to experience a varsity game for the first time,” Nolke said.
Mirts was pleased with her bench’s play late in the game.
“I wanted to make sure that everyone is ready to go and it was a nice opportunity for everybody to get some minutes.”
The Kewpies will play second seed Rock Bridge at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.
“We’re happy that we’re playing and it just so happens to be Rock Bridge,” Mirts said. “We’re playing them on their floor. I’m sure they’ll be very ready. Our job is to try to get us in the position where we can put a good game plan together.”
Hickman defeated the Bruins 43-25 at home Jan. 26.
“We’re always excited to play Rock Bridge regardless of where it’s at,” Nolke said.