To junior forward Cray Logan of the Hickman boys’ basketball team (9-11), playing pool, watching television and eating Indian tacos sounds like the perfect way to prepare for tonight’s big game against Rock Bridge (16-1).
“Before every game, the team goes to coach’s house to eat dinner and just chill,” Logan said. “We don’t worry about the game. We might have a quick talk about it, but besides that, we just go and we relax. It’s just like a family meal pretty much.”
The mother of the so-called family is Conney Sutherland, wife of coach Jim Sutherland. She said the Indian tacos come from South Dakota, where she and her husband own a cabin in the Black Hills. They differ from normal tacos because, instead of using normal tortillas or hard taco shells, dough is thawed, stretched and fried in oil. Then the meat, cheese,lettuce, and other taco indredients are added on top of it.
“The boys love it,” Conney Sutherland said.
According to her husband, the Kewpies will need more than full stomachs and a relaxed attitudes to defeat the Bruins. Improved shooting and boxing-out are necessary if the Kewpies want to avenge a 66-58 loss at Rock Bridge on Dec. 15.
“The two key areas we are concerned about are getting the ball in the hole and making sure we don’t allow a lot of second shots,” Jim Sutherland said.
The Kewpies will look for scoring from senior guard Taylor Florence, who leads the team with 16.9 points a game. Junior center Byron King leads the team in rebounding, averaging 5.5 a game.
Jim Sutherland said the team is executing better offensively and defensively than it had been in the beginning part of the year.
However, Logan said the game is about more than execution. He said the competition between the schools adds a level of excitement to the game.
Despite the expectation of playing the Bruins, Logan does not feel the pregame dinner will be much different than usual.
“The tone is going to be a little bit higher because it’s a rivalry,” he said. “But except for that, I don’t think anything is going to be too different.”
Logan, who is playing on the varsity team for the second year, said his most vivid memory of the rivalry came from the first time he played in it.
“The first time running onto the court my sophomore year was just crazy,” Logan said. “You’ve got at least a thousand people screaming. You hear the booing and at the same time you hear the cheering.”
Besides a raucous crowd, Logan said he can only expect one thing: a good game.
Jim Sutherland said the game is a good opportunity for the Kewpies to shake a bad habit.
“We have not played well at home for two-and-a-half years,” he said. “I can’t think of a better ball club to be playing to get rid of a monkey than Rock Bridge at home.”