When a high school team takes a six-hour trip to a tournament, it’s usually a chance to get out of the cold weather in its own location, along with the chance to test itself against high-quality competition. Fort Smith, Ark., may not deliver many travel perks, but the Hickman girls’ basketball team will test itself early.
The Kewpies open their season Thursday against Norman High School of Oklahoma in the Tournament of Champions. The Tigers were 21-6 last year and finished sixth in the Oklahoma state tournament.
“I think we’ll get a good idea of where our team is,” coach Tonya Mirts said. “(The players) aren’t convinced until you have some type of live performance. We’ve practiced as much as we can practice.”
Of the eight participants, only Incarnate Word of St. Louis did not reach at least the state quarterfinals last season, and the Red Knights had a 26-2 record. Every team also has at least one Division I prospect.
“I think it’ll be nice to play somebody based on skill alone,” senior Yvonne Anderson said. “It’s going to help us down the road, we’ll be able to play whoever we have to.”