Senior guard Taylor Florence scored on a putback to put Hickman up 62-61 with under 30 seconds to play against Jefferson City. He later hit two free throws to secure a 64-61 victory over the Jays and guarantee the team’s first winning streak since the beginning of January.
Sounds like a perfect way to build momentum heading into district play.
But wait just a minute. Actually, wait a week and a half.
That’s what the Kewpies have had to do. Hickman has been idle since playing Lee’s Summit and Jefferson City Feb. 8 and Feb. 9. Hickman will not play again until it opens district play against Camdenton Monday at Smith-Cotton.
“We’re sitting dormant for 10 days, and that is a problem,” Hickman head coach Jim Sutherland said.
This is because most other teams in Missouri are finishing their conference schedules and do not want to travel to the middle of the state to play Hickman.
Sutherland said the team’s momentum might be nullified.
“Mentally, we’re coming off two wins; that doesn’t change,” Sutherland said. “Whether we go out and have the same tenacity and the same flow on the court, that’s another thing.”
He said court time is needed in order to keep a competitive edge. He said similar game droughts in the past two years have caused Hickman to come out a little flat in the beginning of their opening playoff games.
“It takes a little while to get that edge back in the first game,” Sutherland said. “Basic timing is thrown off because you’re not acclimated to playing in a game-like situation.”
Florence said this week will be the same as any other week of the season, as the team’s overall goal has not changed.
“This whole year has been practice for districts,” Florence said. “This gives us a time to really get focused, to get ready for what we need to do in order to hopefully pull out a win on Monday.”