Hickman girls basketball started to find its footing after playing improved basketball in the final games of the 31st annual Pepsi-Cola Invitational in Troy. The Kewpies finished in seventh place in the tournament.
As the No. 8 seed in an eight-team tournament, the Kewpies started off with an uphill battle. They faced off against top-seeded Troy in the first round on Tuesday.
Coming into the game off a loss to Rolla in the first game of the season, coach Anna Rorvig’s only expectation for the team was to focus on improving in the needed areas of their game instead of just winning.
“The more expectations put on outcomes,” Rorvig said, “the more challenging it becomes for a young team to meet them.”
Rorvig said that the first quarter and a half of the game were good and the team looked better than it had, but the Kewpies ended up dropping the game 63-28. Junior Day Jamison led the team in scoring with 11, and senior Emma Chapman added 10 more.
Troy, Rorvig noted, is an experienced team, and that experience showed in the second half of the game. Hickman also struggled to put the ball in the basket, never allowing them to get into rhythm offensively.
The Kewpies moved on to the consolation half of the bracket, were they began with a game against fifth-seeded Wentzville Holt on Thursday.
Though they were no longer in contention for winning the tournament, the Kewpies kept their focus on improving.
Rorvig said that she loved what she saw from the team in its second game against Holt and that the young team was starting to gel.
“Ball movement was good,” Rorvig said. “They played with fantastic energy. You could see the improvement.”
Unlike in the first game against Troy, shots were falling for the Kewpies against Holt. Seeing the ball go in the hoop helped translate into a better all-around performance.
Despite the improvement and better showing, the Kewpies fell in a close game, losing 54-50. Jamison and Chapman led the team in scoring once again, putting up 19 and 15 respectively.
Even though it was a loss, putting up a better performance gave Hickman confidence that it brought into its final game against St. Dominic.
Bringing success over from one game to the next was one of the key areas on which Rorvig and Hickman have been focusing on.
Hickman succeeded in doing so, and the Kewpies dominated St. Dominic 59-35 behind Chapman’s 30 points to win the seventh-place game.
Going 1-2 in the tournament might not have been the desired outcome, but starting to play better and getting a win helps the inexperienced Kewpies gain confidence.
“When young teams start to see results,” Rorvig said, “it means a lot more for their confidence than just telling them that they’re getting better.”
Next up for Hickman is Moberly at 2 p.m. Sunday during the Norm Stewart Classic.
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