2004 Hickman Kewpie Girls Basketball

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2003-2004 Season Schedule for the "2004 Hickman Kewpie Girls Basketball Team"

November 25 - Kewpies 65 Notre Dame de Sion 52

November 28 & 29 - (Kewpies WinQuincy Thanksgiving Tournament)

December 6 - Kewpies 54 Kickapoo 52

December 9, 11 & 13 (Kewpies WinBlue Springs S. Tournament)

Dcember 15 - Kewpies 60 Rolla 29

December 18 - Kewpies 81 Mexico 30



December 28-30 (Kewpies ONLY LOSS to Republic @ KTXR Classic 62-60)

January 3 - Kewpies 80 Helias 38

January 5 - Kewpies 59 Glendale 32

January 10 - 61 Bishop Miege 32

January 13 - Kewpies 59 Kirksville 30

January 16 - Kewpies 63 Nerinx Hall 35

January 19 - Kewpies 48 St. Joseph's Academy 46

January 24 - Kewpies 71 ParkwaySouth 29

January 28 - Kewpies 65 Rock Bridge 30

February 5 - Kewpies 47 Lee's Summit 38

February 10 - Kewpies 44 Jeff City 43

February 14 - Kewpies 60 University City 29

February 16 - Kewpies 82 Hannibal 39

February 23-28 (Mon.-Fri.) District Tournement @ Helias Jeff CityKewpies Play Rock Bridge - HHS to Play Jays - District Champs

March 3 (Wed.)Sectional Game @ Borgia HS in Washington, MO - Kewpies Picked to Win - Kewpies Beat Francis Howell 67-44

March 6 (Sat.)Class 5 Quarterfinal Game in Sedalia- Pre-game Story - Kewpies Beat Kickapoo, Head to Hearnes

March 12 & 13 (Fri. & Sat.) @ Hearnes, Columbia MO SEMIFINAL RESULTS St. Joseph 47 Incarnate Word 27 - Hickman 53 Lee's Summit 28

March 13 (Sat.) (St. Joseph takes State Championship over Hickman)*No Miracle* - (Incarnate Word over Lee's Summit for 3rd Place)

Coach Mirts talks & other articles from the Missouri - BRACKETS & RESULTS - Tunes - Lauren Harris Story - Shooting Stars


Kewpies fill all-district team with seniors - Kewpies make all-state team

42 Years Ago - Last State Basketball Champs @ HHS


Bolerjacks have identical games 
Twins lead Hickman girls in opener.
By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Twin 22-point performances by Amy and Jodi Bolerjack led the Hickman girls basketball team to a season-opening 65-52 win over Notre Dame de Sion last night in St. Louis. 

Jodi Bolerjack also led the Kewpies (1-0) with 10 rebounds. Amy Bolerjack had nine boards and made five 3-pointers. 

Kaela Rorvig scored nine points, but her primary contribution was holding Rachel Seymour scoreless. Seymour needed just three points to reach 1,000 in her career. Adding to Hickman’s defensive effort, Lauren Harris had six blocks. 

Hickman led 14-8 after one quarter and 36-20 at halftime. 

Notre Dame sophomore Morgan Henderson led all scorers with 27 points. 

The Kewpies open play in the 16-team Quincy, Ill., Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday against Central Memphis.


Hickman girls win twice at Quincy Tournament 

By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Hickman girls basketball team emerged from a 16-team field that included four nationally ranked teams to win the Quincy, Ill., Thanksgiving Tournament last night. 

The Kewpies defeated Incarnate Word Academy 37-25 in the championship game to improve to 5-0 on the season. 

Earlier in the day, Hickman won a semifinal over Quincy 59-46. 

Tournament MVP Jodi Bolerjack and twin sister Amy were named to the all-tournament team. Jodi Bolerjack scored 15 points in the win over Quincy, and Amy added 10. 

Kaela Rorvig was Hickman’s top scorer in both games yesterday, scoring 18 in the semifinal and 15 in the title game. 

Lauren Harris had seven rebounds in each of the final two games and added 14 points, including 8 of 8 from the foul line, against Quincy. 

"We wouldn’t have been competitive without the size of Lauren Harris," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said of her 6-foot-3 senior. 


Kewpies emerge victorious 
Hickman bounces back from slow start to beat another nationally ranked team.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, December 7, 2003
Something just wasn’t right about yesterday’s girls basketball game between Kickapoo and Hickman during the marquee high school matchup of the Columbia College Shootout at Southwell Complex. 

Jenna Isaacson photo 
Hickman’s Stephanie Burger, center, squeezes between Kickapoo’s Hannah Carter (14) and Heather Ezell (15) while fighting for the ball yesterday during the Kewpies’ 54-52 victory in the Columbia College Shootout at Southwell Complex on the Columbia College Campus. 
In what was expected to be another nail-biting thriller between the two state-contending rivals, Kickapoo held a surprising 16-point lead over the Kewpies midway through the third quarter. 
If the lopsided score wasn’t odd enough in this intense rivalry, the zero in the scoring column next to Hickman sharpshooter Jodi Bolerjack’s name was downright weird. 
Things finally started to come around for Bolerjack and the Kewpies, though. Starting with a short jumper at the 1:15 mark of the third quarter, Bolerjack scored 11 of her team’s final 18 points to lead the Kewpies to a 54-52 victory over the defending Class 5 champions and 16th-ranked team in the country according to USA Today. 

"Jodi’s just got to get looks, and she didn’t get any looks," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said after her team improved to 6-0 with its second win over a nationally ranked team. "They were in her face all game. Finally, we executed our offense and got her some looks." 

Bolerjack’s first points came off an inbounds play that cut Kickapoo’s lead to 48-38. She added another jumper after a block by 6-foot-3 teammate Lauren Harris to cut the score to 48-40 going into the fourth quarter. 

"That first basket felt good," Bolerjack said. "It gave me a little more confidence to shoot more. I did, and it went in." 

Bolerjack’s late burst also boosted the confidence of her team. 

"We hit a momentum spurt toward the end of the third quarter," Mirts said. "When they came into the fourth-quarter huddle … it wasn’t, ‘Oh my gosh we’re beat.’ It was, ‘Let’s get after it.’ " 

Jodi and twin, Amy Bolerjack, combined to score Hickman’s first nine points of the fourth quarter to cut Kickapoo’s lead to one. With 2:14 remaining, Harris put the Kewpies in front for the first time since the second quarter with a driving layup that made the score 51-50. 

Playing its first game of the season, Kickapoo (0-1) pulled ahead one last time with 52 seconds left on two free throws by senior Molly Carter. 

The Bolerjacks went back to work, though, with Jodi driving through the lane and passing the ball back out to the wing for her sister to make a game-winning 3-pointer with 35 seconds left. Both Bolerjacks finished with 11 points. 

"We weathered the storm," Mirts said. "We finally got some open looks for the twins. They had to wait most of the game, but then they delivered." 

Kickapoo had several opportunities to tie or take the lead in the final seconds, but Harris blocked one shot, and two long 3-pointers fell no good. 

"The one kid got a good look," Mirts said. "The others were kind of heaved, but the heaved ones have beat us, too." 

Considering Hickman’s heartbreaking history with Kickapoo and last-second 3-pointers, the Kewpies breathed a big sigh of relief when the final horn sounded. 

"I think I had a heart attack every time each one went up," Jodi Bolerjack said. 

The 3-point shooting of Hickman’s Kaela Rorvig kept the Kewpies in the game when Kickapoo used a 19-5 second-quarter spurt to pull ahead 32-22 at halftime. Rorvig made 4 of 5 3-pointers to led the Kewpies with 15 points. 

A 9-0 run gave Kickapoo its biggest lead at 43-27 with 5:19 left in the third quarter. 

"Ten points wasn’t really that much, and then we got down by like 15," Rorvig said. "I still knew we had it in us somewhere." 

The return of Harris helped Hickman rally. After sitting out most of the second quarter with two fouls, Harris finished with nine points, nine rebounds and five blocks. 

Kickapoo’s Heather Ezell made four 3-pointers to lead the Chiefs with 14 points. Holly Wade totaled 13 points, and Molly Carter scored 11. 

"I think the kids did a great job of executing, and their effort was tremendous," said Kickapoo Coach Stephanie Phillips, who returned to the team this week after her newborn boy was cleared to come home. "Hey, it’s our first game of the year, so we’re OK."

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.



Hickman opens tourney with easy victory 
By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The Hickman girls basketball team continued to roll, topping Raytown South 73-20 in the opening round of the McDonald’s Tournament in Blue Springs. 

The Kewpies, who are 7-0 and ranked first in the initial Class 5 poll released today, led 22-4 after the first quarter and were never challenged. Hickman shot 65 percent from the field, with nine players scoring for the Kewpies. 

Lauren Harris’ 14 points and seven blocks led the Kewpies. Stephanie Burger had 13 points and seven assists. Naomi Tesfamikael and Jodi Bolerjack each added 12 points. 

Hickman will be back in action tomorrow when they take on either Blue Springs South or St. Teresa’s.

Kewpie girls defeat Blue Springs South, face Pembroke Hill in championship 
By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Friday, December 12, 2003

The top-ranked Hickman girls basketball team sizzled from the field and played virtually error-free to roll past Blue Springs South 60-41 last night in the semifinals of the McDonald’s/Blue Springs Tournament. 

The Kewpies (8-0) shot 52 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers. 

Jodi and Amy Bolerjack led the Kewpies with 22 and 15 points, respectively. The twins split six 3-pointers in the game, with Amy making all three of hers in the first quarter to put Hickman in front 18-10. 

Lisa Dinse led Blue Springs South (2-3) with 16 points. 

The Kewpies play Texas signee Erneisha Bailey and Pembroke Hill for the tournament championship at 5:15 p.m. tomorrow. The Raiders (3-0) are ranked third in Class 3. 

Kewps claim Blue Springs title 
By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, December 14, 2003

The top-ranked Hickman girls basketball team survived a rough shooting night and a six-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to rally for a 46-40 overtime victory against Pembroke Hill yesterday in the championship game of the McDonald’s/Blue Springs Tournament. 

With Hickman (9-0) trailing 35-32 in the fourth quarter, Megan McCabe made a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to send the game into overtime. They were McCabe’s only points of the game. 

The Kewpies trailed the third-ranked team in Class 3 by as many as six points entering the final two minutes, but Pembroke Hill (3-1) missed three front ends of bonus free-throw situations. The Raiders were just 1 of 7 from the foul line. 

"We put them in a situation where we fouled, they didn’t connect and the momentum changed from there," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. 

The Kewpies never trailed in overtime. 

Amy Bolerjack led Hickman with 15 points. Kaela Rorvig added 11 points and held Texas recruit Ermeisha Bailey to 15 points. 

The Kewpies play their first game at Hickman gym tomorrow against Rolla.



Hickman gets point vs. Rolla 
Harris leads Kewpies at free-throw line.
By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Tuesday, December 16, 2003

By the end of last night’s girls basketball game at Hickman gym, the scoreboard showed the top-ranked Kewpies with one more point than what they really scored. 


Michael McNamara photo 
Rolla’s Calli Collier looks for a teammate while Hickman’s Jodi Bolerjack puts pressure on the ball in the fourth quarter of the Kewpies’ 60-29 victory last night. 
Hickman didn’t need the help. 
Ball-hawking pressure defense and the athletic all-around play of 6-foot-3 senior Lauren Harris was more than enough for Hickman to roll past Rolla 60-29 in the Kewpies’ home opener. 
Harris totaled 14 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and five steals. Impressive numbers, but what caught the eye of Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts was Harris’ 10-of-10 shooting performance from the foul line. 

"That’s great," Mirts said. "We get her going to the bucket, and she’s going to end up at the free throw line a lot." 

Matching up against 6-3 senior Claire Jenkins most of the night, Harris relished the rare opportunity to face a player she could look squarely in the eyes. 

"I like that better than the short ones," Harris said. "I was just shooting into them because they were pushing me every time." 


Michael McNamara photo 
Hickman’s Jodi Bolerjack passes around Rolla’s Erica Warfield in the first half. Bolerjack finished with 12 points. 
Rolla (3-2) did a lot of pushing. 
Hickman (10-0) was shooting bonus free throws 55 seconds into the second quarter and made 25 of 33 foul shots in the game. Rolla made just 6 of 12 free throws. 
"Their pressure defense was the difference, and we gave them half their points at the free-throw line," Rolla Coach Bryce Swafford said. 

Leading 11-9 after one quarter, Hickman’s zone press forced Rolla into 10 second-quarter turnovers that pushed the lead to 36-16 by halftime. Rolla finished with 23 turnovers. 

"You know it’s coming," Swafford said. "Any time you turn the ball over, you’re almost guaranteed they’re going to turn it into two points." 

With Stephanie Burger and Amy and Jodi Bolerjack forcing several turnovers at the front of the press, the Kewpies got easy baskets against the Bulldogs. Jodi Bolerjack finished with 12 points, and Amy Bolerjack scored nine. Fellow guard Kaela Rorvig led the Kewpies with 15 points. 

"We can play a lot of pressure because of our guards," Mirts said. "We put four guards out there, and there’s not a whole lot of people more athletic than Lauren Harris. She really anchors us in the back." 

Harris scored 10 points in the second quarter, including eight free throws. With Hickman leading 22-16, Harris started a 14-0 run with a driving layup. Rorvig completed the run - and the half - with a quick jumper off an inbounds pass with less than a second left. 

Making 11 of 13 free throws in the third quarter, the Kewpies continued to build on their lead until the 30-point continuous clock mercy rule went into effect. 

Obiageli Okafor was one of only four Rolla players to score in the game. The 5-8 junior led the Bulldogs with 16 points. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.



Published Friday, December 19, 2003

Hickman girls dominate Mexico

The Hickman girls basketball team showcased all the weapons that made it the top-ranked team in the state and earned the Kewpies the No. 11 spot in USA Today’s national rankings with an 81-30 win over Mexico last night at Hickman gym. 

Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpies (11-0) with 21 points. Lauren Harris totaled 15 points and eight blocks, Kaela Rorvig had 14 points and Amy Bolerjack added 12 points. 

With point guard Stephanie Burger distributing the ball equally, Hickman had 10 players score in the romp. 

"Our balanced scoring is creating problems for other teams," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "Even though Stephanie didn’t score tonight, she’s doing a really nice job of running the team." 

The Kewpies pulled away from Mexico (5-3) with a 30-point second quarter to take a 43-10 halftime lead. 

The Kewpies shot 57 percent from the field and made 14 of 16 free throws. Rachel Baker led Mexico with nine points, and Whitney Widaman scored eight.


National ranking latest coup for Kewpies 

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, December 21, 2003

After knocking off a couple of USA Today’s preseason Top 25 girls basketball teams on the way to an undefeated start, Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts couldn’t wait to get her hands on a copy of the national newspaper Wednesday morning. 


Jenna Isaacson photo 
Hickman girls basketball Coach Tonya Mirts saw her Kewpies move into USA Today’s national rankings this week. Hickman, which is 11-0 and sitting at No. 1 in Class 5, was chosen as the No. 11 team in in the nation, No. 3 in the Midwest. 
After purchasing a copy on her way to school, Mirts’ heart sank when she didn’t see her team’s name as she scanned the poll from the bottom up. 
"I thought we’d pop into the poll somewhere between 20 and 25," Mirts said. 
After sliding her gaze up the poll a few more notches, Mirts noticed that the Kewpies had popped into the national poll at the eye-popping position of No. 11. The national ranking was more than Mirts could have ever asked. 

"I think it says a lot about our personnel," said Mirts, who fields a starting lineup loaded with collegiate talent. "It’s a special opportunity that doesn’t come around very often. These kids have worked hard for it, and the time has come appropriately." 

The national ranking is another feather in the cap of a program that opened the season No. 1 in the state’s Class 5 poll. The Kewpies (11-0) are also ranked third in the Midwest according to USA Today. 

Surprisingly, the extra accolades haven’t seemed to affect the focus of the Hickman players. 

"The last three days, we’ve had better practices than we’ve had in the last couple years at Hickman," Mirts said. "It seems like they’ve made a group commitment. They have made a decision that, ‘We have this one opportunity, and we’re going to make the most out of it.’ " 

Mirts hopes her players keep that attitude throughout a season that is once again filled with huge expectations. 

After several seasons of close calls and disappointing playoff losses, senior starters Stephanie Burger, Kaela Rorvig, Lauren Harris and Amy and Jodi Bolerjack seem to be relishing their final season together and their last shot at claiming the basketball program’s first state title. 

"As long as they don’t feel undue pressure, this has been a neat thing," Mirts said of the national ranking. "It’s going to be something these kids can talk about when they’re 40 years old. It doesn’t happen to everybody; it’s a unique thing." 

The Kewpies will put their lofty rankings to the test over the holidays when they travel to Springfield for the KTXR Lady Classic that begins next Sunday. 

Hickman opens with Republic at 1:30 p.m., and a victory over the 10th-ranked Class 4 squad would likely pit the Kewpies against defending Class 5 champion Kickapoo in a 7 p.m. semifinal on Dec. 29. Kickapoo, ranked 18th by USA Today, suffered its only loss against Hickman on Dec. 6 when the Kewpies rallied for a 54-52 victory in the Columbia College Shootout.

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.


Tales of tapes , titles and Transitions 
10. Hickman girls earn No. 1 ranking
Published Sunday, December 28, 2003
Four Division I athletes, a season-opening tournament championship and a thrilling win over the defending state champions earned the Hickman girls basketball team the No. 1 spot atop the Class 5 poll to open the 2003-04 season.

Jenna Isaacson photo 
Returning three all-state players — Kaela Rorvig, Amy Bolerjack and Jodi Bolerjack — and 6-foot-3 Lauren Harris, the Kewpies were expecting to have another big season. A trip to Quincy, Ill., for a prestigious Thanksgiving tournament stoked those expectations when Hickman held off nationally ranked Whitney Young of Chicago for a 58-50 overtime win. Two more impressive victories gave the Kewpies the 16-team tournament championship. 
The next week, Hickman rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half to top Kickapoo 54-52. The Chiefs, the defending Class 5 champions from Springfield, were also nationally ranked.
The two big wins and an 11-game winning streak to open the season propelled Hickman to its first-ever national ranking in USA Today. In December, the national publication ranked the Kewpies No. 11 in its girls basketball poll. 

Before the season started, four of Hickman’s five senior starters had signed letters of intent to accept athletic scholarships. Amy and Jodi Bolerjack (Wyoming) and Stephanie Burger (William Woods) earned basketball scholarships, and Kaela Rorvig signed with the Missouri track program.

— Rus Baer


Hickman girls fall in Springfield

By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Monday, December 29, 2003
Early foul trouble and a last-second shot contributed to the nationally ranked Hickman girls basketball team losing its first game of the season yesterday during the KTXR Lady Classic in Springfield.
After Republic, ranked 10th in Class 4, recovered a loose ball in the lane, Jennifer Nichols made a short shot at the buzzer to upset the top-ranked Class 5 Kewpies 62-60.
Hickman (11-1) led by one with 4.9 seconds left when Lauren Harris fouled out, sending Republic star Kelsey Lock to the foul line for two shots. Lock made the first free throw to tie the score but missed the second. A tie-up on the rebound gave possession to Republic, setting up the game-winning shot by Nichols, who finished with four points. 

"It was a mad scramble in the middle of the lane," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "They got the ball, threw it up, and it went in." 

Amy Bolerjack led the Kewpies with 17 points. Jodi Bolerjack added 16 points, and Kaela Rorvig scored 11. Stephanie Burger, who finished with eight points, made two free throws in the final minute to give the Kewpies a three-point lead. 

Harris picked up two fouls on Republic’s first two offensive possessions and sat the rest of the first half. The 6-foot-3 senior finished with four points, five blocks and five rebounds. 

Lock, a 6-1 Arkansas State recruit, scored 22 points and Josie Sparkman added 18 for the Tigers (6-2). 

Hickman, which entered the tournament ranked 11th nationally by USA Today, plays Lincoln, Ill., today in a consolation semifinal.

Published Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Hickman girls get back on track

After struggling through the first couple of days of the KTXR Lady Classic in Springfield, the Hickman girls basketball team got back on track yesterday in its consolation final. 

The Kewpies (13-1) stumbled to a first-round loss and then struggled at times Monday in a consolation semifinal win. Yesterday, though, they came out and put on an impressive offensive display on their way to a 69-49 win over Ft. Smith, Ark., Northside. 

"I felt it was the best all-around performance of the year for us," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "We’ve played some good teams so far … but we haven’t had the scoring balance that we had tonight." 

Hickman shot 58 percent from the field for the game and was especially impressive in the first half, taking a 38-18 lead at the break. Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpie attack with 20 points, and her twin sister, Amy, added 14. A big key in Mirts’ mind, though, was the 13 points from Lauren Harris. Her inside presence took a lot of pressure off the Kewpies’ explosive perimeter.


Top-ranked Hickman girls easily beat Helias 

By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, January 4, 2004

Every player that dressed scored for the top-ranked Class 5 Hickman girls basketball team in an 80-38 romp past Helias last night in Jefferson City. 

Kaela Rorvig led 10 Hickman scorers with 17 points and had a team-high seven assists. Lauren Harris had 16 points, and Jodi Bolerjack added 14 points. 

Harris, who also led the Kewpies (14-1) with five steals and five blocks, teamed with Naomi Tesfamikael to give Hickman strong post production. Tesfamikael scored six points off the bench and led the Kewpies with six rebounds. 

"I was really pleased with our bench scoring," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "If we get 20 points from our post, we’re good to go." 

Hickman led 24-10 after one quarter and outscored Helias (4-6) in the three remaining frames. Ashley Clad led the Crusaders with 19 points. 

Hickman travels to Springfield tomorrow to play Glendale.



By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Girls basketball
? Hickman 59, Springfield Glendale 32: Glendale had the Kewpies down 2-0 to start the game, then Hickman ran off 20 straight points to end the quarter and take control of the game. 
Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpies (15-1) with 17 points, while sister Amy added 14. 

Lauren Harris scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. 

Whitney Pollard led Glendale with 11 points. 

After playing 14 of their 16 games on the road, the Kewpies return home to host Kansas Class 6A champion Bishop Miege on Saturday.


Kewpies blitz Bishop Miege 

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, January 11, 2004

In a season full of lopsided wins, yesterday’s 61-32 romp past three-time defending Class 5A Kansas state champion Bishop Miege offered a small bit of novelty for the Hickman girls basketball team. 

Considering the third-ranked Class 5 Kewpies scored the game’s first 11 points, junior Amy Bolerjack couldn’t remember Hickman (16-1) getting off to a better start this season. 

Kewpies Coach Tonya Mirts said the early run had a lot to do with a defense her sharp-shooting team, ranked 17th nationally by USA Today, doesn’t see very often. 

"They sat in a zone early, and we were wide open," Mirts said. "We just let it rip right away." 

Bolerjack scored eight points in the opening run and combined with Kaela Rorvig on consecutive 3-pointers to push the Kewpies to a double-digit lead that brought about a quick defensive change. 

"They switched out of it about 11-0," Mirts said, "but by that point the tone was set." 

Bishop Miege Coach Terry English said he opened up in a zone because of Hickman’s height advantage. Knowing his Stags (4-3) didn’t stack up physically to the bigger Kewpies, he was hoping Hickman would have an off night shooting. 

"We felt if they weren’t hitting right at the beginning, we could settle down and maybe get into the game with them," English. "Instead we got way behind." 

Besides Bolerjack’s fast start, Rorvig made seven of her first eight shots to keep the Kewpies well in front. Miege closed to 18-12 at the end of the first quarter, but Hickman scored the first 14 points of the second quarter to pull away for good. 

Hickman used balanced scoring and pressure defense to take a 36-15 lead into halftime. Five players scored for the Kewpies, who forced nine second-quarter turnovers. 

"Anybody can shoot it, but if somebody’s really hot we try to get them the ball," Bolerjack said. "We have so many weapons." 

Bolerjack led Hickman with 19 points. Rorvig scored all 16 of her points in the first half, and Jodi Bolerjack added 10 points. Lauren Harris had seven blocks and made 7 of 8 free throws to finish with nine points. 

"The difficult thing about guarding us is that we have five threats," Mirts said. "We need to utilize those threats, and when the girls do that, we become a really good team." 

English, who returns three starters from last year’s state champs, said the Kewpies were as good as any team he’s faced this year. That includes second-ranked Lee’s Summit, which rallied to defeat Miege in overtime. 

"We’ve seen some city teams like this, but right now they’re as strong as anybody we’ve played," English said. "They don’t make any mistakes, they all shoot pretty well and they do all the little things." 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.
Hickman girls roll again 

By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Coming off a big victory Saturday over the three-time defending Kansas Class 5 state champions, Hickman girls basketball Coach Tonya Mirts was a little concerned about a letdown from her squad. 

Mirts shouldn’t worry so much. The Kewpies posted another lopsided win, topping fourth-ranked Class 4 Kirksville 59-30 last night. 

The Kewpies, 17-1 and ranked third in Class 5, again came out hot from the perimeter, but the Tigers hung tough early and trailed 20-13 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Hickman began to pound the ball inside to Lauren Harris. The 6-foot-3 senior totaled a game-high 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked nine shots. 

"We’ve been such a guard-oriented team, and" Harris "has done all the dirty work defensively, so it’s really nice to see her emerge offensively," Mirts said. "I really think that balance will complete us as a team." 

Behind Harris’ dominant interior play, Hickman outscored the Tigers 28-12 in the second and third quarters to put the game away. Jodi Bolerjack scored 13 points for the Kewpies, and twin sister, Amy, added 11.


Kewpies win costly tussle 
Senior suffers injury in slugfest.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Saturday, January 17, 2004
Leading by 33 points with the running-clock mercy rule in effect, the nationally ranked Hickman girls basketball team was a minute away from surviving last night’s home game with Nerinx Hall. 

Ed Pfueller photos 
Above, Hickman’s Lauren Harris pulls down a rebound in front of Nerinx Hall’s Liz Sharpe-Taylor in the second half of a 63-35 victory. Below, Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts guides the Kewpies to a 63-35 victory over Nerinx Hall last night. 
Although the outcome of the game was secure, playing a rough-and-tumble group of gals from St. Louis, the Kewpies’ physical welfare was not. 
With 56 seconds left in the 63-35 win, Hickman suffered a crippling loss. On one of the more harmless looking plays of the rugged contest - which included a lot of holding and pushing by the Markers - Hickman’s Naomi Tesfamikael twisted her left knee trying to defend a driving Nerinx Hall player and fell to the floor in agony. The preliminary diagnosis was a meniscus tear, likely keeping the Kewpies’ top post reserve out of action for four weeks. 
Considering the physical play of Nerinx Hall (11-5), Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts was merely hoping her team could emerge from the game victorious and injury-free. One out of two made for a grumpy coach after the game. 

"They were nasty dirty to begin with," Mirts said. 

From the game’s opening minute, when Hickman’s Stephanie Burger went skidding across the floor after a forearm shiver by a dribbling Marker, it was clear Nerinx wasn’t going to back down from the Kewpies (18-1) just because they’re ranked 17th in the country and third in Class 5. 

"That was the game plan: Come in, play hard and don’t back down," Nerinx Hall Coach Mike Slater said. 

Initially stunned by the Markers’ strong-armed start, Hickman fell behind 4-2, prompting a timeout by Mirts at the 6:08 mark. Then the Kewpies went on a 10-0 run to take the lead for good. Jodi Bolerjack scored all eight of her points to end the run, including back-to-back 3-pointers. 

"Nerinx Hall was definitely pretty physical, but I thought we responded well to it," said Burger, who scored six points. "I like a game that’s physical. It makes you get into the game more." 

Burger’s teammates were up to the challenge, too. Lauren Harris produced a game-high 17 points and five blocks inside. A little extra shoving didn’t affect the Kewpies long-range aim, either. 

Led by the shooting of Kaela Rorvig and Amy Bolerjack, the Kewpies made 8 of 16 3-pointers. The two split six 3-pointers and each finished with 13 points. 

"As physical and uncoordinated as the game was, I thought we performed at a high level," Mirts said. "I think we handled it as well as we ever have." 

For the game, Hickman made 22 of 46 field goals (48 percent) and 11 of 14 free throws. Aided by Nerinx Hall collecting its 10th team foul at the 5:13 mark of the second quarter, the Kewpies shot 12 free throws in the first half. 

Although the sluggish play continued after halftime, Hickman got to the free-throw line only two more times. 

"In this physical of a game, I think it’s really interesting that we’re only shooting that many free throws," Mirts said. "It seems when the score gets separated … there’s a lot of stuff let go" by the officials. 

Hickman led 35-14 at halftime, and Amy Bolerjack scored Hickman’s first 10 points of the third quarter to push the Kewpies to a 51-26 lead heading into the fourth. 

Nerinx shot 13 of 40 from the field and 8 of 14 from the foul line. Casey Kraft led the Markers with 16 points. 

Hickman plays top-ranked St. Joseph’s Academy on Monday during the Martin Luther King Shootout in St. Louis. The undefeated Angels are ranked 13th in the nation. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.



Kewpies state case for No. 1 

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Tuesday, January 20, 2004
ST. LOUIS - It was all over but the pizza for the Hickman girls basketball team. 
Trailing St. Joseph’s Academy by 18 points heading into the fourth quarter of last night’s Martin Luther King Jr. Shootout, the only thing the Kewpies seemed to have going for them was the stack of pizzas that were delivered to the Maryville University gym and waiting for them behind their bench. 
So with their pizza getting cold, the Kewpies decided to turn up the heat. 

With nothing left to lose against the 13th-ranked team in the nation, Hickman, ranked 17th nationally, turned to its run-and-jump full-court press that the Angels torched last year in a victory over the Kewpies in this same event. 

"We had nothing to lose, so we were all over the place, throwing everything at them, and we forced some steals," Hickman senior Amy Bolerjack said. 

Recalling a 16-point second-half comeback against Kickapoo in a stunning season-opening win, Hickman forced 10 St. Joseph’s turnovers in the final quarter to battle back for an improbable 48-46 victory. 

"Coach" Tonya Mirts "was like, ‘This is the same thing with the Kickapoo game,’ " Bolerjack said. "We thought about that comeback, and we knew we could do it again." 

But down 18 points to the top-ranked team in the state’s Class 5 rankings, the third-ranked Kewpies (19-1) had little margin for error. After dominating the first three quarters, St. Joseph’s (12-2) obliged the Kewpies’ comeback with a colossal collapse. 

"Unfortunately, I didn’t know you had to play one good quarter to win," said Angels Coach Julie Matheny. "We just made some poor decisions." 

What started humbly with a wide-open 3-pointer by Bolerjack at the 7:09 mark of the fourth quarter, twin Jodi Bolerjack ended with two clutch field goals in the final minute to end a 27-point fourth-quarter outburst by Hickman. 

After scoring just four points in each of the second and third quarters, the Kewpies trailed 39-21 entering the fourth. St. Joseph’s still led 43-27 when the pizzas arrived early in the fourth. 

Showing a hunger for victory not seen since the thrilling comeback against Kickapoo, the Kewpies used a 13-0 run over the next two minutes to slice St. Joseph’s lead to 43-40 with 3:35 left. 

Despite a talented group of guards, the Angels struggled with Hickman’s full-court pressure. Sparked by the spirited play of Jodi Bolerjack and Megan McCabe, Hickman got several transition baskets off its press. 

"They kind of crumbled there at the end," Hickman senior Kaela Rorvig said. 

A basket by 6-foot-5 junior Erin McCarthy ended Hickman’s run at the 3:24 mark, but the Kewpies came right back with a jumper by Rorvig. Her eighth point of the game made the score 45-42 and allowed Rorvig to join Jodi Bolerjack with more than 1,000 points in her career. 

A basket by Stephanie Burger cut the margin to one with 1:17 left, before McCarthy scored the Angels’ final point at the 1:09 mark. 

A driving baseline scoop shot by Jodi Bolerjack with 49 seconds left tied the game for the first time since an 11-all deadlock late in the first quarter. Another steal by Jodi Bolerjack off the press led to the game-winning shot seconds later. 

Off an inbounds play under the basket, Jodi Bolerjack dropped in a 12-foot jumper with 39 seconds left to give Hickman its first lead since the first quarter. Jodi Bolerjack led Hickman with 17 points, and Amy added 16. 

"We were thinking we were going to go out fighting," Amy Bolerjack said. "Once we got a good run, and the lead was down to seven and then five and then three … and all off a sudden we’re up by two." 

St. Joseph’s called a timeout with 19 seconds left to set up a final play, but Kelsey Luna’s 3-point attempt was short and Lauren Harris grabbed the rebound with 1 second left. 

"We’ll take a victory and run out of this place," Mirts said. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.


An im-press-ive victory 
Top-ranked Kewps blitz Parkway South.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, January 25, 2004
Since Hickman girls basketball Coach Tonya Mirts has learned her lesson, opposing coaches won’t have to wonder what to expect from the Kewpies for the rest of the season. 
No matter who, when or where they’re playing, expect the Kewpies to use their full-court pressure defense early, often and - if necessary - until the final horn. 
"We have to do what we do best," Mirts said after yesterday’s 71-29 pasting of Parkway South at Columbia College. "I owe that to these kids." 

Hickman’s full-court defense picked up where it left off on Monday when the Kewpies, ranked first in Class 5 and 11th by USA Today, rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat previous state No. 1 St. Joseph’s Academy. 

Mirts was wary of using full-court pressure against St. Joseph’s, but after the press sparked her team’s frantic rally on Monday, she vowed to never stray again. 

"That game was the only game I didn’t come out with the press," Mirts said. "We didn’t do that in that game and came out really sluggish. I’m not going to make that mistake again." 

Pressing from the opening tip, Hickman (20-1) forced eight turnovers and opened up a 21-7 first-quarter lead. Parkway South (13-5) finished with 27 turnovers, 18 coming off of Hickman steals. 

"Coach stresses defense a lot," Hickman junior Megan McCabe said. "She tells us if we’re good on the defensive end, then it’s going to help our offense. We figure if we can get a couple steals and get a layup, that will get us going." 

McCabe and Jodi Bolerjack were Hickman’s primary thieves. Bolerjack finished with five steals and McCabe, Hickman’s top reserve, totaled four. 

Besides her defense, McCabe provided an unexpected jolt of offense with a career-high 10 points. The 5-foot-9 guard was one of five Kewpies with at least 10 points. 

"Megan played marvelous," Mirts said. "She came up offensively for us, but she really gets her hands on a lot of balls. When she tips it out, it helps our other kids to score." 

Kaela Rorvig led the Kewpies with 15 points, and Lauren Harris totaled 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. Amy and Jodi Bolerjack both totaled 12 points. 

Just another day at the office for Hickman’s high-profile starters, who can normally overshadow the efforts of Hickman’s other players. McCabe said she doesn’t mind playing in the shadows of her older teammates, especially considering Hickman’s string of success. 

"We’ve got a great group of seniors, and it’s their time to shine," McCabe said. "I still have another year to play. It’s not difficult for me at all because I love playing with these girls." 

Hickman built a 38-9 lead in the second quarter before Mirts called off the press. With her depleted bench playing several minutes, eight of Hickman’s nine players scored. 

Starting point guard Stephanie Burger had a team-high seven assists and scored six points. Reserves Rachel Conrad and Janaé Estill added two and one point, respectively. 

Hickman led 41-17 at halftime and 58-25 entering the fourth quarter. Parkway South had three players score six points. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.



Kewpies still dominate Bruins
Hickman to challenge Jays for district.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 

Published Sunday, February 1, 2004

? GIVE ‘EM HECK: I’m sure Hickman girls basketball Coach Tonya Mirts would prefer I not recall a certain comment she made after Wednesday’s 65-30 win at Rock Bridge, but I think it bears repeating - or at least paraphrased. 
Basically, after taking it easy on the Bruins by primarily playing a half-court game, Mirts disclosed her defensive plans for the rest of the season. Not surprisingly, a half-court defense was not mentioned. 
To paraphrase, the Hickman coach said something about pressing the - shall we say - crud out of the remaining teams on her schedule. 

Some folks might take what Mirts said the wrong way, but I agree it’s time for the Hickman coach to turn her top-ranked team loose again. In their past three games, for varying reasons, the Kewpies, ranked No. 11 by USA Today, have used their press sparingly. 

Averaging more than four 3-pointers a game and shooting 47 percent on the year, the Kewpies (21-1) have struggled from the field and combined for just two 3s in their past two games. Hickman’s sluggish shooting started in the St. Joseph’s Academy game, when the Kewpies didn’t press the Angels until falling behind by 18 entering the fourth quarter. 

Eight minutes of Hickman’s full-court pressure was just enough to make up the huge deficit and knock off the state’s previous No. 1. But in recent routs against Parkway South and Rock Bridge, Mirts hardly used her press in an effort to keep the score respectable. 

Unfortunately for Hickman, the relaxed defensive approach has led to some lax offensive showings. 

"These kids deserve to play the best they can play," Mirts said. "We get our shots off the move rather than standing around. As long as we’re in an up-tempo game, we hit our shots." 

With an arsenal of talented weapons at her disposal, I say Mirts should put the pedal to the metal and not let off until her team runs out of gas. The way the Kewpies have looked this year when they’re going full out, they might just have enough in their tank to go the distance.


By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Saturday, February 14, 2004
Girls basketball
? Hickman 47, Lee’s Summit 38: The top-ranked Class 5 Kewpies (23-1) allowed just nine second-half points to erase a three-point halftime deficit at Lee’s Summit. 
After scoring nine points in the first half, Illinois signee Megan Nyquist was held scoreless - primarily by Kaela Rorvig - after halftime. 

"Unbelievable halfcourt man-to-man defense," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. 

Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpies with 17 points. Lauren Harris had 12 points and nine blocks, Rorvig had 10 points and five steals and Stephanie Burger added five assists. 

Ashley Patterson led Lee’s Summit with 14 points, all but two of them in the first half.


Jefferson City gets close, but Hickman hangs on 

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, February 11, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY - For a gal that’s been victimized by a few too many last-second 3-pointers in her lifetime, Hickman girls basketball Coach Tonya Mirts was able to manage a smile after Jefferson City’s Emily Light drained a desperation 22-footer to end last night’s rivalry game at Fleming Fieldhouse. 
Of course, that grin came with a huge sigh of relief. 
When Light’s 3-pointer swished through the net as the final horn sounded, it got the Jays close, but nationally ranked Hickman held on for a 44-43 victory. 

"We survived," Mirts said. 

Survival was the primary objective for the Kewpies, who entered the game ranked first in the state’s Class 5 rankings and 11th in the nation by USA Today. Returning to the floor after a 13-day layoff, the Kewpies (22-1) struggled from the field and couldn’t rattle Jefferson City (14-8) with their normally effective full-court pressure defense. 

"We weren’t playing our game," Hickman point guard Stephanie Burger said. "Eventually, we started attacking the goal, and that’s when the momentum started to swing our way." 

It took awhile, though. 

Hickman never trailed in the first half, but the first signs of trouble surfaced with a second left in the first quarter when Lauren Harris picked up her second foul. Harris, a 6-foot-3 senior and Hickman’s only legitimate post player, sat out the entire second quarter as Mirts went to a five-guard set. 

"The way I look at it, we’ve got Harris on the bench for a quarter of the game … and we missed a ton of open jump shots," Mirts said. "If we can still win a game doing that, I think we’re a pretty good basketball team." 

A 3-pointer by Kaela Rorvig and two free throws by Jodi Bolerjack gave Hickman its biggest lead at 24-16 with 4:56 left, but Jefferson City closed the quarter strong to pull to within 27-25 by halftime on a last-second put-back by Alice Parker. 

Jefferson City scored on its first three possessions of the third quarter to take its first lead at 31-29 when Funtasia Clark made a short jumper at the 6:40 mark. 

Except for a jumper by Bolerjack early in the third, Hickman went cold from the field. The Kewpies were 3 of 12 in the quarter - including 0 of 5 from 3-point range - and finished 17 of 42 (40 percent) for the game. 

"We were playing safe, and then they took the lead," Bolerjack said. "We just decided to play our game. When we play our game, good things happen. 

"We figure if we keep shooting - even if our shots aren’t going in - and we keep pressing, things are going to go our way." 

With Jefferson City leading 33-29, Harris made a transition basket at the 1:55 mark to cut the margin to two. She followed that up with a block and two free throws to help the Kewpies tie the score at 35 heading into the fourth when Rorvig put back a Harris miss with two seconds left. 

"Lauren made us a different ballclub in the second half," Mirts said. 

Harris scored Hickman’s first two baskets in the fourth quarter, and the Kewpies never trailed again. Bolerjack set up Harris’ second basket by cleanly picking a Jefferson City player for a steal and assist. 

"She was just holding the ball over her head waiting for her teammates to do something," Bolerjack said. "I saw an opportunity, we got a fast break, some points, and I think that started our momentum." 

Harris led the Kewpies with 14 points, and Bolerjack scored 12. Amy Bolerjack and Rorvig added nine and seven points, respectively. 

When Jefferson City closed the margin to one late, Amy Bolerjack took over and scored Hickman’s final three points. A steal and layup by Amy - similar to her twin’s play earlier in the quarter - gave Hickman a 43-40 lead with 1:09 left. 

On Jefferson City’s next possession, Harris blocked a driving attempt by Brianna Culberson, and the Kewpies ran out most of the remaining clock. Harris finished with five blocks. 

Culberson was unstoppable for most of the game, scoring 20 points. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.


Heart of the Kewpies
Estill leads rout on senior day.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, February 15, 2004
Playing on a girls basketball team with five college talents in the starting lineup that have combined to accumulate more than 4,000 points in their high school careers, Hickman senior Janaé Estill knows her role on the Kewpies’ nationally ranked squad. 

Michael McNamara photo 
Hickman senior Stephanie Burger drives around University City’s Precious Holmes in the first half of the Kewpies’ 60-29 win last night. 
And it has nothing to do with scoring. 
Lauded for her hard-working attitude and upbeat personality, Estill was described my many of her teammates and coaches as the heart of the team in a special pamphlet featuring Hickman’s eight seniors. 
All those things might be true, but somebody obviously forgot to mention Estill’s deadly jumpshot. 

Playing her final game in Hickman gym yesterday, Estill upstaged her high-scoring teammates with a career-high nine points on 3-of-4 shooting to help the top-ranked Class 5 Kewpies close out the regular season with a 60-29 romp past University City. 

"Janaé played fabulous," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "She has given us everything - her whole heart - so it was a special day for her." 

Since it was senior day, Estill expected to play a few more minutes than normal against University City (17-6). Producing as many points as she did was not part of the plan, though. Estill, a 5-foot-5 guard, entered the game having scored 19 points all season. 

"I was just expecting to work hard, like I always do, and try not to turn over the ball," Estill said. "That was my main goal." 

But when Estill got her hands on the ball, she was instant offense. 

After missing her first attempt on a driving attempt, Estill knocked down a short jumper at the end of the first quarter to give the Kewpies, now 24-1 and ranked 10th by USA Today, an 18-9 lead. 

Hickman’s full-court pressure gave University City fits in the second quarter. Forcing eight straight turnovers to open the quarter, the Kewpies got points from four of their five senior starters to bolt to a 27-9 lead. Stephanie Burger started the run with a driving basket, followed by a Jodi Bolerjack jumper, a putback by Kaela Rorvig and 3-pointer by Amy Bolerjack. 

After University City snapped the run at the 2:40 mark with a jumper by Ceara Brown, Estill answered with a baseline jumper to make the score 29-11. Rachel Conrad, a 5-8 senior reserve, also got into the scoring column with a baseline jumper late in the quarter to give Hickman a 31-17 lead at halftime. 

"Connie could have hit some more," Mirts said. "I wish she would have taken them because she’s a good shooter away from the basket. She drained the first one." 

Mirts generously substituted throughout the game, offering her seniors an opportunity to shine. Every senior except Naomi Tesfamikael, who is recovering from a knee injury, scored. 

"Chemistry-wise it kind of throws you off, but I thought it was well worth it to let them interchange with each other," Mirts said. 

Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpies with 18 points, Amy Bolerjack scored 11 and Rorvig added 10. Harris finished with eight points and six blocks. 

Outscoring the Lions 11-2 in the third quarter, Hickman finished off the rout with a strong fourth quarter. Right in the middle of a 13-0 run was Estill, who flipped in a shot from underneath the basket after a nice pass from Harris. 

Estill’s career day also came with a Hollywood ending. 

With time running out, she took a pass at halfcourt dribbled to the top of the key and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the game. The scenario was similar to a scene in one of the team’s favorite movies, "Love and Basketball." 

"We have this thing about ‘Love and Basketball’ and how the girl talks to herself," Estill said. "I was talking to myself, looking at the clock and at two seconds I was like, ‘Gotta shoot it, gotta shoot it.’ " 

Mirts was beaming with the way her seniors were able to finish off their final home game. 

"What a cap to a great day," Mirts said. "They mean an awful lot. They’ve grown up with us. They’re going to take a big part of me with them." 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.



Kewpie girls enter postseason on roll 

By the Tribune’s staff 
Published Tuesday, February 17, 2004
The Hickman girls basketball team wrapped up another stellar regular season by walloping Hannibal 82-39 last night. 
The Kewpies, 25-1 and ranked 10th in the nation by USA Today, shot 65 percent from the field and had no problems with Hannibal’s zone. 
Kaela Rorvig’s 22 points led three players in double figures for the state’s top-ranked Class 5 team. Jodi Bolerjack added 19 points, and Lauren Harris totaled 16 points and 11 blocks. 

Megan Akright and Dominique Williams led Hannibal (8-16) with 10 points each.


District tournaments set 
Jeff City boys, Hickman girls top seeds.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, February 15, 2004

The boys and girls basketball coaches at Hickman and Rock Bridge made the hour-long round trip to Jefferson City yesterday morning to decide something that most basketball fans could have probably figured out in five minutes. 


Michael McNamara photo 
Lauren Harris, right, and the Hickman girls basketball team are the top seed in the Class 5 District 10 Tournament, which begins next week. The Kewpies are the top-ranked team in the state. 
Rather than leave the Class 5 District 10 seeds in the hands of a know-it-all such as yours truly, the coaches from the six schools involved convened in Jefferson City to officially hammer out the formalities for the tournament that begins next week. 
Jefferson City will host the boys tournament beginning Feb. 23. The girls tourney will be at Helias starting Feb. 24. 
Jefferson City (18-3) was the clear-cut choice for the top seed in the boys tournament. Hickman was second, followed in order by Helias, Rock Bridge, Camdenton and Smith-Cotton. 

About the only seed up for debate was the No. 3 spot between Helias (14-9) and Rock Bridge (15-8). Too bad the two squads couldn’t use Friday’s regular-season finale at Rock Bridge - the final North Central Missouri Conference game for both - to decide their district position. 

Ranked No. 1 in the Class 5 state rankings and 10th by USA Today, it was no surprise to see Hickman (24-1) claim the top seed in the girls bracket. The other seeds were just as easy to peg with Jefferson City taking second, followed by Helias, Rock Bridge, Smith-Cotton and Camdenton. 

The top two seeds in each tournament receive first-round byes, setting up the possibility for some interesting semifinal matchups. 

Rock Bridge and Camdenton open boys action at 6 p.m. next Monday. The Bruins beat the Lakers twice in December: the first time by 30, but four days later the Bruins needed overtime. 

Camdenton, which entered the weekend with a 7-13 mark, is the only district team to beat Jefferson City. The Jays will play the winner at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25. 

Helias and Smith-Cotton (9-14) play the other first-round game at 7:30 p.m. 

Hickman (12-13) plays the winner in the second semifinal at 7:30. The Kewpies were 4-2 against district foes, with the two loses coming to Jefferson City. 

The boys championship game will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27. 

In girls action, Rock Bridge (5-15) opens with a 6 p.m. contest against Smith-Cotton (6-14). The Bruins have won two straight this week, including a victory over Smith-Cotton, but a season-ending injury to Ashley Stanfill suffered in Friday’s win over Marshall could prove costly. Hickman awaits the winner at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26. 

At 7:30, Jefferson City plays the winner of the other first-round game between Helias (11-11) and Camdenton (1-19). 

The girls title game is slated for 7 p.m. on Feb. 28.


Known commodity 
Kewps stay on course, end Bruins’ season.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Friday, February 27, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY - Facing its top-seeded, top-ranked and all-everything cross-town counterparts in the semifinals of the Class 5 District 10 Tournament last night, the Rock Bridge girls basketball team knew what was coming when it took the court against Hickman. 


Michael McNamara photo 
Hickman’s Jodi Bolerjack goes to the basket in the first half of the Kewpies’ 67-33 victory over rival Rock Bridge in a Class 5 District 10 Tournament semifinal last night at Rackers Fieldhouse in Jeffer-son City. Bolerjack scored 18 points to lead four Kewpies in double figures. Hickman, 26-1 and ranked ninth in the nation by USA Today, seeks its fifth straight district title tomorrow against Jefferson City. The Bruins, meanwhile, finished the season with a 6-20 record. 
Frankly, most everyone in Helias’ Rackers Fieldhouse knew what was coming. 
But when the Bruins surprisingly won the opening tip over Hickman’s towering senior Lauren Harris, even the 6-foot-3 Harris had a sliver of doubt pop into her head as she oddly backpedaled to play defense in the opening seconds of the game. 
"It was a bad tossup," Harris said, smiling. "It kind of went Rock Bridge’s way. I was like, ‘OK, I hope the rest of the night isn’t like this.’ " 

It wasn’t. 

Harris quickly asserted her dominance on both ends of the court, her teammates sizzled from the field and the Bruins crumbled under the Kewpies’ full-court pressure in a 67-33 Hickman win. 

Hickman, now 26-1 and ranked ninth by USA Today, will shoot for its fifth straight district championship at 7 p.m. tomorrow against Jefferson City. 

Coming off a 10-day layoff, the Kewpies showed little rust - a few new wrinkles - and appeared ready to start a long playoff push. Hickman scored the game’s first 11 points, including three straight jumpers by Jodi Bolerjack, to seize early control. 

"We came out with real good intensity and played together throughout the whole game," Hickman senior Kaela Rorvig said. "I think we’re all ready to get back to playing a regular string of games." 

Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said her team responded better to this layoff than the 13-day drought without a game earlier this month. The Kewpies escaped Jeff City with a 44-43 win in their long-awaited return to the court on Feb. 10, but this time, Hickman left little doubt about the outcome from the start. 

With Rock Bridge (6-20) playing aggressively on defense and making the Kewpies work for open looks at the basket, Hickman repeatedly found open shots with long, cross-court passes. 

"It was really nice to see our perimeter shots fall early," Mirts said. "I think they’ve been anticipating this for a long time. I felt that we played aggressively and in attack mode as opposed to our last long layoff. I feel real good about that." 

Jodi Bolerjack scored eight of her team-high 18 points in the first quarter to put Hickman in front 18-4. Rorvig added 14 points, Amy Bolerjack scored 13 and Harris totaled 10 points and eight blocks. 

Stephanie Burger added six points and a team-high six assists for the Kewpies. 

Hickman opened each of the first three quarters with long scoring runs. Besides the 11-0 start in the first, the Kewpies scored the first 10 points of the second quarter and opened the third on an 8-0 run. 

"They have so much commitment, and mixed with the athletic ability that they have, it makes them an awesome team," Rock Bridge junior Rachel Jones said. 

Although overmatched, Jones led a spirited effort by the Bruins. The 5-8 guard aggressively drove into the paint several times to lead Rock Bridge with 11 points. Freshman Ashley Dressler, who scored Rock Bridge’s four points in the first quarter, finished with 10 points. Senior Ashley Guy wrapped up her career with eight points. 

"You always have that negative feeling a little bit when you lose, but honestly, you can’t expect more except to go out there and give your best effort," Jones said. "I really do believe that’s what we did." 

Hickman was just too much. 

Opening up leads of 28-4 and 34-6 in the second quarter, Mirts got all of her players plenty of minutes. Senior reserves Janaé Estill and Rachel Conrad scored four and two points, respectively. Estill got her points on slicing drives to the hoop, while Conrad popped an 18-foot bomb from the top of the key late in the third quarter to make the score 57-24. 

Hickman led 38-17 at halftime and 61-24 entering the fourth quarter. 

? Jefferson City 61, Helias 43: Ten players scored for the second-seeded Jays, but sophomore Brianna Culberson did most of the damage with a game-high 32. 

Helias (14-12) led 11-7 after the first quarter, but Jefferson City (16-10) outscored the third-seeded Crusaders in the remaining three frames. Ashley Clad scored 21 points in her final game for Helias. 

The winner of tomorrow’s District 10 final plays Francis Howell (19-8) on Wednesday at Borgia High School in Washington, Mo. The Vikings defeated Troy Buchanan 46-33 last night in Wentzville for the District 9 title. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.


Reaching for another district title 
Kewpies aren’t strangers to championship games.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Saturday, February 28, 2004
After a thorough 67-33 pounding of Rock Bridge on Thursday in the first Class 5 District 10 girls basketball semifinal at Helias’ Rackers Fieldhouse, Hickman senior Kaela Rorvig offered no preference for which team her nationally ranked squad would rather meet in tonight’s championship game. 

Michael McNamara photo 
Rachel Conrad (32) and the Hickman girls basketball team is looking for its fifth straight district championship tonight in Jefferson City. 
Familiar foes 
Hickman’s girls basketball team is entering its 10th straight district title game. Including tonight’s 7 p.m. game at Helias, the Kewpies have met Jefferson City in nine of those finals. 
2003: Hickman 58, Jeff City 38

2002: Hickman 52, Jeff City 36
2001: Hickman 53, Smith-Cotton 44
2000: Hickman 55, Jeff City 39
1999: Jeff City 53, Hickman 50 (OT)
1998: Hickman 51, Jeff City 42
1997: Jeff City 56, Hickman 48
1996: Jeff City 49, Hickman 41
1995: Hickman 53, Jeff City 46 
"We’ll take whoever," Rorvig said with a shrug. 
Another year, another district championship game for the Kewpies (26-1). Ranked first in the state and ninth by USA Today in Tonya Mirts’ 10th year as head coach, the Kewpies have advanced to their 10th straight district final. 

And, ho-hum, the Kewpies will meet second-seeded Jefferson City (16-10) in the 7 p.m. title game. With a 61-43 win over third-seeded Helias in Thursday’s late semifinal, the Jays earned the right to try their luck against the Kewpies in the title game for the ninth time since 1995. 

Hickman holds a 5-3 edge in those games. Including a championship win over Smith-Cotton in 2001, the Kewpies have won four straight district titles. 

"They do so many things well," second-year Jefferson City Coach Doug Light said. "It’s going to take a lot of effort to be able to play with Hickman. I think we played pretty well against them the last time." 

Light definitely got an impressive effort from his team in a 44-43 loss to Hickman on Feb. 10. The Jays led by four in the third quarter. 

To have a chance tonight, though, the Jays will probably have to improve on that effort. Alice Parker, Jefferson City’s second-leading scorer and tallest player at 6-foot-1, was lost for the season when she broke her hand last week. 

Despite an illness that caused her to miss the first half of school Thursday, sophomore Jestine Gerber scored nine points against Helias to take up some of the scoring slack left in Parker’s absence. Sophomore Brianna Culberson improved on her 17-point scoring average by unloading 32 points in the semifinal win. 

"We’re not at 100 percent," Light said, "but you just have to have kids step up and accept responsibility." 

Despite a 10-day layoff, Hickman was firing on all cylinders in its win over Rock Bridge. Starters Kaela Rorvig, Lauren Harris and Amy and Jodi Bolerjack entered the postseason averaging more than 10 points a game, and the quartet continued that trend with double-digit outputs against the Bruins. Jodi Bolerjack led the way with 18 points, improving her team-leading scoring average to 14.8. 

Besides her 10.2 scoring average, the 6-3 Harris broke the school’s single-season block record for the third straight year. With eight Thursday against Rock Bridge, Harris has 164 on the year. 

"They’re the best team we played all year - there’s no question," said Light, whose schedule included games against state powers Kickapoo and St. Joseph’s Academy. "They’re such a great team and so well-coached. They do so many good things." 

Tonight’s winner plays Francis Howell (19-8) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in a Class 4 sectional at Borgia High School in Washington, Mo. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.


District champions, as usual 
Hickman girls snag fifth straight crown.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, February 29, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY - If a credit card commercial was made out of last night’s Class 5 District 10 girls basketball championship game at Helias’ Rackers Fieldhouse, it might go a little something like this. 

Michael McNamara photo 
Hickman’s Callie Johnson (54), Sade Aaron (42), Lauren Harris (with championship plaque), Rachel Conrad (32) and Janaé Estill (20) celebrate the Kewpies’ 69-39 victory over Jefferson City for the Class 5 District 10 title last night in Jefferson City. Harris scored 20 points to help Hickman win its fifth straight district title. 
? Fill-up the gas tank for trip to Jefferson City: $15 
? Inflated ticket price to attend MSHSAA-sanctioned event: $4. 
? Purchase of what is normally a free player program from Helias’ already money-hungry Future Business Leaders of America: A lousy 50 cents. 

? Putting a 30-point pasting on your archrivals to claim your fifth straight district championship … oh, you know the rest. 

From the game’s opening tip - when Lauren Harris tapped the ball to Amy Bolerjack for an uncontested layup - to the 18-foot jumper senior reserve Rachel Conrad canned right before the game’s final buzzer, the Kewpies demonstrated in every way possible why they are ranked ninth in the nation by USA Today with a 69-39 obliteration of Jefferson City. 

"I guess the first thing you say is, ‘Wow!’ and from there, whatever," Jefferson City Coach Doug Light said. "They came with a purpose and … you’re hoping you can weather the storm, but the storm never relented. It just kept coming." 

The 6-foot-3 Harris provided most of the precipitation, raining a host of turnaround jumpers on the second-seeded Jays (16-11) to lead the state’s top-ranked Kewpies (27-1) with 20 points. With Jefferson City playing without injured 6-1 senior Alice Parker, Harris continually got position down low against overmatched defenders. 

"You get Lauren the ball on the block, and she’ll just kill ’em down there," Hickman’s Kaela Rorvig said. 

If Harris wasn’t killing the Jays, Hickman had plenty of other weapons. Jodi Bolerjack and Stephanie Burger drove aggressively to the hoop to score 18 and 11 points, respectively. Amy Bolerjack scored 10 points, and Rorvig made two 3-pointers for six points while guarding Jefferson City star Brianna Culberson. 

"Boy, when they play together, they’re incredible," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. 

Hickman bolted to a 14-4 lead before Jefferson City scored its first field goal at the 1:14 mark by Culberson. The 5-10 sophomore finished with 20 points, but she was never a factor because the Kewpies continued to build on their lead. 

Said Harris: "We were just in attack mode." 

Consecutive 3-pointers by Burger and Rorvig midway through the third quarter pushed the margin to 30 points at 49-19. Taking a 57-24 lead into the fourth quarter, the 30-point continuous clock mercy rule was put in effect. 

"I don’t think we can say anything bad about this game," Jodi Bolerjack said. 

Hickman advances to play Francis Howell (19-8) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in a Class 4 sectional at Borgia High School in Washington, Mo. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Hickman’s wins become predictable 
Kewps try for sixth straight sectional.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Ranked No. 1 in the state’s Class 5 poll and ninth in the nation by USA Today, there aren’t a whole lot of questions surrounding the Hickman girls basketball team. 

Michael McNamara photo 
Hickman senior Janaé Estill and her fellow reserves have received plenty of playing time late in blowout victories this season. 
The Kewpies have proven to be so predictable this season, even Hickman’s bench players have a good idea of how many minutes they’ll be playing on certain nights. 
"Most games, you can pretty much call from the beginning how much you’re going to play," senior reserve Rachel Conrad said. 
So how much PT does Conrad think she’ll see tonight when the Kewpies (27-1) travel to St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Mo., for their Class 5 sectional with Francis Howell? 

"I don’t know," she said, coyly. "Hopefully a lot, because that would mean we’ll be winning by a lot." 

Coming off a 69-39 romp over Jefferson City in Saturday’s district title game, all signs point to Conrad breaking a serious sweat against the Vikings. Despite an impressive record, Francis Howell (19-8) is making just its first sectional appearance since 1985. 

Hickman, on the other hand, is looking to secure its sixth straight sectional victory. Since dropping their only sectional game in 1995, the Kewpies have rattled off five lopsided sectional wins by an average of 29.6 points. 

Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts would like to see that trend continue tonight. Not only would it mean her senior-laden team would continue its overpowering season for another game, but it also would allow the coach to dole out some richly deserved playing time to her lesser-known seniors. 


Sectional dominance 
Hickman has won its last five sectional girls basketball playoff games by an average of 29.6 points. The opponents’ records entering the games are in parentheses. 
2003: Ft. Zumwalt West (13-13), 82-33

2002: Wentzville (23-3), 71-44
2001: Wentzville (18-8), 61-37
2000: Francis Howell N. (22-4), 47-28
1998: Troy (23-3), 69-40 

On a team loaded with five college-caliber talents, the efforts of Conrad and fellow senior Janaé Estill can easily be overlooked. Mirts wants to make sure they’re not. 
"With those kinds of kids," Mirts said, "you try to reward them as much as you can for everything they contribute to the team." 
Those contributions are not normally measured by statistics. But Conrad and Estill realize they’ve played an important role in the team’s success. 

Without good practices, Hickman’s starting five wouldn’t be able to produce big numbers when it’s game time. 

"Me and Janaé get the starting five prepared," Conrad said. "We usually go over the other team’s plays" in practice, "and we like to keep everyone focused. 

"I don’t care how much playing time I get. It’s great when you get to play, but … I know that when" the starters "play good, it’s because me and Janaé helped them out and got them prepared." 

Conrad and Estill must be doing a good job in practice lately because Hickman played some of its best ball during the Class 5 District 10 Tournament. Lopsided wins over Rock Bridge and Jefferson City kept Hickman’s season rolling along. 

Jodi Bolerjack’s 14.9 scoring average leads four starters averaging in double figures. Amy Bolerjack is second with 11.9 points, followed by Kaela Rorvig (11.4) and Lauren Harris (10.6). 

Even senior point guard Stephanie Burger, who averages 5.6 points a game, got into double-digits during the win over Jefferson City with 11 points. 

Francis Howell’s only comparable scoring average comes from 5-foot-6 sophomore Lindsey Lutz, who is scoring 12 points a game. The Vikings have no player listed above 5-10 on their roster. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Kewpies advance to quarterfinals 
Hickman defeats Francis Howell.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Thursday, March 4, 2004
WASHINGTON, Mo. - The Hickman girls basketball team displayed one more reason why it’s ranked 10th in the nation and first in the state rankings during last night’s Class 5 sectional at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. 
It wasn’t a reason Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts was particularly thrilled to see, either. 
Seemingly going through the motions against another overmatched sectional foe, her sluggish squad was still able to easily advance to the state quarterfinals for the fifth straight year with a 67-44 victory over Francis Howell. 

"I think they thought it was a formality, and they lost that edge," said a visibly perturbed Mirts. "I don’t want them to lose that edge." 

The Kewpies (28-1) were admittedly lacking the fire and desire they displayed in a near-perfect 30-point romp past archrival Jefferson City for the district title. 

"We weren’t as intense as we hoped to be," senior point guard Stephanie Burger said. "I don’t think it was overconfidence. We just didn’t come out like we did against Jefferson City and match the intensity we had that night." 

Although it was hardly Hickman’s best effort, the game’s outcome was never in doubt. 

Jodi Bolerjack scored Hickman’s first six points and made her first four shots to put the Kewpies in front early. Hickman never trailed, building a 16-9 lead after one quarter. A 3-pointer by Bolerjack early in the second quarter gave the Kewpies a 23-13 advantage and the margin remained in double-digits the rest of the way. 

Recalling a career-high 28-point performance in last year’s sectional at Borgia, Bolerjack led Hickman with 20 points. 

"Jodi came out with a real workmanship attitude," Mirts said. 

For the third straight playoff game, the Kewpies had four players score at least 10 points. Burger scored all but two of her 16 points in the second half, Lauren Harris totaled 14 points and 10 blocks, and Amy Bolerjack added 11 points. 

"Where do you start with them?" Francis Howell Coach Dawn Schuster said. "We dive in and get something missed on the inside, and they kick it out and can a 3. 

"They’re very talented. I’m just glad we could stay on the court with no running clock." 

Trailing 30-16 at halftime, Francis Howell (19-9) was unable to keep up with the Kewpies’ pinpoint passing in the second half. Working the ball unselfishly to find an open shot against Howell’s aggressive man-to-man defense, five players made Hickman’s first six baskets of the third quarter. 

Kaela Rorvig collected two of her team-high eight assists during the run, which made the score 43-21 after a put-back by the 5-foot-10 senior. 

The Kewpies got a bit of a scare, though, when Rorvig hobbled off the court with 59 seconds left in the third quarter after twisting her ankle. Mirts described the injury as a mild sprain and said Rorvig could have continued playing. 

Rorvig sat out the rest of the game and watched her team build a 55-28 lead in the fourth quarter. Three straight 3-pointers by Howell’s Allison High cut the lead to 55-37, but the Kewpies answered with eight straight points to keep the game out of reach. 

"We struggled a little, and we didn’t look as good as we did against Jeff City, but we still won," Jodi Bolerjack said. "It’s great when you come out and don’t play your best and still win by about 25, but we need to get back to practice and get our focus." 

Focus shouldn’t be a problem Saturday when the Kewpies face playoff nemesis Kickapoo (26-2) in a 6:30 p.m. Class 5 quarterfinal at State Fair Community College in Sedalia. The defending state champions from Springfield are ranked third in the state and 15th in the nation. 

Kickapoo, which lost its season opener to Hickman, defeated Lebanon (21-7) in its sectional 50-36. 

"We’re where we want to be at this point," Mirts said. "We’re meeting Kickapoo … so the matchup is lined up." 

The quarterfinal meeting will be the fifth straight between the two state powers, with the playoff series tied at 2.

One more classic in the works? 
Kewpies, Chiefs square off again.
By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Saturday, March 6, 2004
Kaela Rorvig was just a skinny eighth-grader when she got her first inkling of the budding rivalry brewing between the girls basketball programs at Hickman and Kickapoo. 

Hick-Kick IX 
Hickman and Springfield Kickapoo have met in some epic girls basketball battles during the past five years. Hickman holds a 5-3 series lead since 1999. 

Hickman 54, Kickapoo 52: Trailing by 16 midway through the third quarter at Columbia College on Dec. 6, Kewpies rallied to hand the state’s defending champions their first loss since ‘02. 


Kickapoo 55, Hickman 42: In Class 5 quarterfinal, undefeated and top-ranked Chiefs outscored No. 3 Kewpies 20-9 in fourth quarter to pull away. Kickapoo won state title. 


Hickman 54, Kickapoo 50 (2 OT): In 4A quarterfinal, Anna Rorvig scored 14 of her career-high 30 points after regulation to lead the No. 1 Kewpies past No. 2 Chiefs. Hickman finished second at state. 

Hickman 45, Kickapoo 43: Jodi Bolerjack’s driving jumper with six seconds left rallied Kewpies past then- No. 1 Chiefs in Dec. 19 regular-season game at Hickman. 


Kickapoo 64, Hickman 62 (2 OT): In 4A quarterfinal, Codi Walker made a last-second 3-pointer to stun fifth-ranked Kewpies at the end of regulation. Tasha Neal’s short jumper with 2.2 seconds left in the second overtime provided the winning points for the third-ranked Chiefs. Kickapoo won state title. 

Hickman 56, Kickapoo 51: The eighth-ranked Kewpies outscored No. 4 Kickapoo 19-7 in third quarter to clinch regular-season road victory Dec. 20. 


Hickman 63, Kickapoo 39: In 4A quarterfinal, No. 9 Kewpies scored game’s first eight points and never trailed to clinch program’s first Show-Me Showdown appearance. Hickman finished third at state. 

Kickapoo 60, Hickman 48: Tied 21-all at halftime in Springfield’s KTXR Classic, a sluggish second half cost the Kewpies. 

"Those games were always pretty intense," said Rorvig, whose older sister, Anna, played in the first of eight games between the two state powers since 1999. "My sister always looked forward to them. It was always a big game." 
With the younger Rorvig entering her final foray against the Springfield squad as one of seven Hickman seniors, things haven’t changed much. 
For the fifth straight year, the two teams will meet in Sedalia to decide which one advances to Hearnes Center for the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown when the top-ranked Kewpies (28-1) meet third-ranked Kickapoo (26-2) at 6:30 tonight in a Class 5 quarterfinal at State Fair Community College. 

The two squads have split the previous four quarterfinal meetings, with Kickapoo winning last year and in 2001 on the way to state championships. 

Including regular-season meetings, Hickman owns a 5-3 lead in the series since ’99 - barely outscoring Kickapoo by a combined 424-414. 

"It seems like every game there’s a shot at the buzzer or an opportunity for a shot at the buzzer," Kickapoo Coach Stephanie Phillips said. "Every time you think of a game with Kickapoo and Hickman, you think of down to the wire." 

Taking over Kickapoo’s coaching reins in 2001, Phillips got a fitting initiation into the rivalry when current Hickman senior Jodi Bolerjack drilled a driving shot with six seconds left to lift the Kewpies to a 45-43 regular-season win in Columbia over the then-No. 1 Chiefs. 

Later that season, it took two overtimes to do in the Chiefs, when the Kewpies ended Kickapoo’s season with a 54-50 win. Not surprisingly, that game ranks pretty high with most of the senior Kewpies, who were sophomores then. 

"Double-overtime, you can’t beat that," Rorvig said. "That was a good one." 

That win helped to make up for a heartbreaking double-overtime quarterfinal loss the previous year, when Kickapoo stole certain victory from the Kewpies with a length-of-the-court dash for a last-second 3-pointer in regulation. 

After last year’s anticlimactic quarterfinal in which Kickapoo pulled away from the Kewpies in the fourth quarter for a 55-42 win, the two rivals returned to breathtaking form with a roller-coaster contest early this season at Columbia College. 

"This year’s game was pretty interesting," Hickman’s Amy Bolerjack said. 

Trailing by 16 midway through the third quarter, the Bolerjack twins led a remarkable rally to hand the Chiefs a 54-52 defeat on Dec. 6. 

For Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts, the latest installment of this epic series ranks right up there among the most memorable. 

"Three of them are hard to separate," Mirts said. "There’s the game we had at Columbia College, the double-OT win and the double-OT loss. 

"Those close ones, coaches remember." 

With both teams ranked nationally by USA Today - Hickman is 10th and Kickapoo 15th - it’s hard not to expect another tense battle. 

"Our two teams are the same every year," Phillips said. "There are some things you can count on for sure from both teams. They know us, and we know them, and at this point you just have to go out and play." 

Kickapoo will have to play without junior Heather Ezell, a Division I recruit who tore her ACL in January. Ezell, Kickapoo’s top perimeter scoring threat, made four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points in the earlier loss to Hickman. 

The Chiefs still have seniors Molly Carter, an all-state guard who inked a scholarship with Drury University, Kailey Mock and Holly Wade. Mock, a 6-foot-1 forward, will play volleyball at Drury, and Wade has signed to play hoops at Central Methodist. 

Hickman also boasts some college talent, with its five starters all signed to scholarships. The Bolerjacks are headed to Wyoming, Lauren Harris to Kennesaw, Ga., State, Stephanie Burger to William Woods and Rorvig to Missouri on a track scholarship. 

"I think it speaks volumes of both programs," Mirts said. "They have an expectation to get" to the state championships, "and we have an expectation to get there." 

The winner plays either Notre Dame de Sion (18-10) or seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit (22-5) at 6:20 p.m. Friday in Hearnes. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Hickman, Kickapoo: Good riddance ‘cow palace’ 

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, March 7, 2004
Win or lose, you won’t likely hear any complaints from Hickman’s or Kickapoo’s girls basketball teams concerning the new venue for yesterday’s Class 5 quarterfinal. 
After years of playing in Sedalia’s dark, cavernous and sometimes smelly Mathewson Exhibition Center, the boys and girls Class 5 quarterfinal was moved to State Fair Community College. 
"I’ve never been there, but I’m guessing the lights might be better," Kickapoo Coach Stephanie Phillips said. 

Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts was also looking forward to checking out the new venue. After putting up with the strange bounces and dead spots on the floor that was pieced together far from the crowd in the middle of the spacious rodeo arena, Mirts was glad to see the quarterfinal moved from the place Phillips playfully referred to as the "cow palace." 

"That place is just not for high school basketball," Mirts said. "You get two really quality programs with all the marbles on the line to go to the state tournament, and you’ve got them on one of the worst floors in the state. I think it’s a great venue change." 

Although they’ve never played in the new venue, Mirts’ players seem to be happy with the switch, too. 

"I’d rather play in a smaller gym," senior sharpshooter Amy Bolerjack said. "At the other place, the baskets just came out of nowhere." 

Kaela Rorvig agreed with her teammate’s assessment of the Exhibition Center 

"You were so far away from the crowd," Rorvig said. "It just seemed like you were stuck out there in the middle of nowhere, and the background was so far away." 

? NOT IMPRESSED: The folks who put together the girls basketball poll for USA Today obviously weren’t impressed with Hickman’s dominance of the Class 5 District 10 field. 

Entering the tournament ranked ninth in the nation, the Kewpies dropped to 10th after 30-point, mercy-rule romps past Rock Bridge and Jefferson City. 

The reason for the odd drop was Mountain View of Orem, Utah, which bumped up two spots to eighth in last week’s national poll after winning its fourth consecutive Class 4A title with a 23-2 mark.

Kewps headed to Hearnes 
Hickman girls handle Chiefs in quarterfinal.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, March 7, 2004
SEDALIA - If the capacity crowd inside the State Fair Community College Multipurpose Center hadn’t figured out which nationally ranked girls basketball team was going to win last night’s Class 5 quarterfinal after the first 31 minutes, two substitutions with 32.3 seconds left should have cleared things up. 
While Molly Carter trudged off the court and collapsed in tears into the arms of Kickapoo Coach Stephanie Phillips, Hickman senior Lauren Harris greeted Kewpies Coach Tonya Mirts with the same goofy grin she wears at the start of each game. 
For the third time in five years, the Kewpies advanced to the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown with a win over Kickapoo. In a series filled with close games, this time the Kewpies, ranked No. 1 in the state and 10th nationally by USA Today, built a double-digit lead in the third quarter and were able to pull away for a 55-40 win. 

"They’ve got it all," Phillips said of the Kewpies (29-1). "They’ve got the inside game and the outside game and great defense. They’re just a great team, and that’s what we all work for as coaches, to get our groups to be like that. They’ve reached that this year." 

A year removed from a frustrating two-point outing in a quarterfinal loss to Kickapoo, Jodi Bolerjack scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help the Kewpies dethrone the defending state champions. 

"I think everybody was feeling things out, and she was like, ‘Man, I’ve been here before. Let’s get this ball rolling,’ " Mirts said. "I think she jump-started us." 

While both teams seemed to open the game tentatively, Bolerjack came out firing to score Hickman’s first eight points. 

Bolerjack scored the game’s first three points on a free throw and driving layup. After a 3-pointer by Kickapoo’s Hannah Carter, Bolerjack answered with a three-point play off a put-back and topped off her personal scoring run with a length-of-the-court dash and spinning layup at the 4:50 mark to give the Kewpies an 8-3 lead. 

"I really want go to go state and to get that done, you just had to attack," Bolerjack said. "It takes a load off when you make your first shot. I felt confident all night long." 

Bolerjack added a 3-pointer to put the Kewpies in front 13-10 heading into the second quarter and added five more points before halftime to push Hickman to a 23-14 lead. 

So did Hickman’s defense, which limited Kickapoo (26-3) to just four points in the second quarter. The Kewpies held Kickapoo’s top two scoring threats, Carter and Kailey Mock, to a combined four points in the first half. Mock, a 6-foot-1 junior, finished with eight points but was held scoreless in the first half by Kaela Rorvig. 

"The defensive effort was incredible," Mirts said. "Kaela’s 5-9, guarding a 6-1 kid, and she took her out of her game." 

Kickapoo, ranked third in the state and 15th nationally, never led in the game and dug itself a huge hole in the second quarter with a seven-minute scoreless stretch. 

Trailing 23-12, Carter’s two free throws with 42 seconds remaining before halftime snapped the scoring drought. 

"Our shots just didn’t fall, and theirs did," Phillips said. "Sometimes that happens." 

Two free throws each by Megan McCabe and Stephanie Burger staked Hickman to a 36-22 lead with 2:11 left in the third, but the Chiefs mounted one final charge. 

A buzzer-beating basket by Mock off an inbounds play with .6 seconds left cut Hickman’s lead to 36-28. Kickapoo scored on its opening possession of the fourth quarter to narrow the margin to six, but Harris recovered from a rough shooting night to score two consecutive baskets to push the margin back to double digits. 

Harris finished with 13 points and nine blocks. Amy Bolerjack led the Kewpies with nine rebounds. 

Hickman advances to the semifinals where it will play seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit (23-5) at 6:20 p.m. Friday in the Hearnes Center. Lee’s Summit defeated Notre Dame de Sion 56-38 in its quarterfinal. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Making a name 
Harris emerges from shadow of big brother.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Hickman senior Lauren Harris has experienced an identity crisis throughout her high school basketball career. 

Don Shrubshell photo 
Opponents have found it difficult to score on Hickman’s nationally ranked girls basketball team with senior Lauren Harris guarding the Kewpies’ basket. The school’s all-time leader in blocks has also de-veloped into an offensive threat this season as one of four Kewpies averaging more than 10 points heading into Friday’s Class 5 semifinal with Lee’s Summit. 
At first, she was merely known as Lance Harris’ sister. 
Then, she was labeled as simply a defensive stopper. 
And while those descriptions are all very much true, the 6-foot-3 shot-blocking sister of the two-time all-state selection and current Kansas State freshman is beginning to make a name for herself these days. 

Her emergence as an offensive threat has helped Hickman (29-1) to the No. 1 position in the state’s Class 5 rankings, the No. 9 spot in USA Today’s national poll and a berth in Friday night’s Show-Me Showdown semifinals at the Hearnes Center against seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit (23-5). 

"I can’t believe how much she’s improved," senior teammate Kaela Rorvig said. "It’s just amazing. It’s a combination of everything." 

With Rorvig among three former all-state players returning in the backcourt, along with Amy and Jodi Bolerjack, Hickman was expected to field another strong team this season. But the one question mark about the Kewpies was whether the squad would get enough offensive production on the inside. 

"Everyone expected us to be perimeter-dominated, and that’s not the case anymore," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "Having Lauren score forces teams to make a difficult decision." 

That decision basically boils down to picking your poison. 

With opponents vainly trying to contain Hickman’s outside game, Harris’ scoring average has steadily increased. By getting good position down low and using an arsenal of offensive moves, Harris is fourth on the team with a 10.8 scoring average. 

"Lauren takes a lot of the pressure off us out on the perimeter," said Jodi Bolerjack, who’s averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game. 

And the extra offensive workload hasn’t slowed Harris on the defensive end, either. She’s still the same, old shot-swatter she’s always been since breaking the school’s single-season block record as a sophomore. This year, she smashed that mark for the third straight year with 188. Harris’ 455 career blocks rank her third in the state’s history. 

"Lauren’s always been a great defender, but she needed to be rewarded at the other end of the court, too," Mirts said. "She’s got great reflexes and great basketball instincts. She has an uncanny ability to be in the right spot at the right time." 

Sounds like she’s got her brother’s instincts. Or is it the other way around now? 

"I haven’t heard that in a while," Harris said. "People would be like, ‘Oh, you’re Lance Harris’ sister.’ And I’d say, ‘My name is Lauren.’ 

"It still happens sometimes, but most people know I’m Lauren now." 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Class 5 teams have score to settle with Kewpies 

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Thursday, March 11, 2004
Lee’s Summit Coach Brian Bubalo remembers a stifling defense. 
Incarnate Word Academy Coach Dan Rolfes recalled a stunning inability to produce points. 
And St. Joseph’s Academy Coach Julie Matheny … well, she still hasn’t been able to shake the memory of those final 4 minutes and 20 seconds. 

"That was a nightmare," Matheny said, referring to her squad’s colossal collapse in a 48-46 loss to Hickman on Jan. 19. 

During a dream season, Hickman’s nationally ranked girls basketball team has offered many a nightmare to its opposition. 

Included in the Kewpies’ run to the No. 9 ranking in USA Today and No. 1 spot in the state poll have been victories over the three other teams coming to the Hearnes Center for the Class 5 Show-Me Showdown semifinals that start tomorrow. 

Considering her team’s rankings and previous conquests, Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts realizes her 29-1 squad will be wearing the biggest bull’s-eye when it opens at 6:20 p.m. with seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit (23-5). 

"I’m sure there are three people that definitely want another shot at us," Mirts said. 

In trucker lingo, Mirts’ comment would receive a big "10-4" from the three Class 5 coaches coming to Columbia. 

With a win over second-ranked St. Louis rival Incarnate Word (27-2) in the 4:45 p.m. semifinal, Matheny said her fifth-ranked Angels (24-4) are hoping to see the Kewpies in Saturday night’s 6:30 final. 

"By all means," Matheny said. "Our kids wanted to play Incarnate Word and they wanted to play Hickman. They feel they have some unfinished business to take care of." 

The Angels, who return four key players from last year’s Class 5 runners-up, are hoping to avenge two of their losses this weekend. St. Joe split its two games with Incarnate and was handed a demoralizing defeat by Hickman during the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic at Maryville College when the Kewpies scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to rally from an 18-point deficit. 

Hickman trailed 43-27 heading into the final, fateful four minutes that haunted Matheny for weeks. 

"They held their composure, made a couple of wonderful shots, and we didn’t handle the pressure well," Matheny said. "It took us probably a couple weeks to recover from it. It hurt." 

Lee’s Summit’s pains have been more physical than mental, but injuries to starters Shana Wheeler and Megan Mayer haven’t kept the Tigers from returning to the Showdown after last year’s fourth-place finish. 

Wheeler, a 6-1 Kansas State recruit, missed all but seven games with a broken bone in her wrist, and Mayer has been out since a sectional victory over Liberty. 

Megan Nyquist has taken up most of the scoring slack, averaging 21 points a game since the end of the regular season. The 5-10 Illinois recruit was held to just nine points, including zero in the second half, during a 47-38 home loss to Hickman on Feb. 13. 

"Their defense in the second half was just stifling" Bubalo said. "We had a lot of trouble getting open for shots. It wasn’t just a case of not having good shots, we couldn’t find a shot against them in the fourth quarter." 

In a 37-25 loss to the Kewpies on Nov. 29 in the championship game of the Quincy, Ill., Thanksgiving Classic, Incarnate Word struggled finding shots in just about every quarter. 

"We actually started out up 8-0, and then we just couldn’t score," Rolfes said. 

With 6-3 junior Division I recruit Rachel Pierson mired in foul trouble, the Red Knights scored just 13 points over the final three quarters. Felicia Chester was the only Red Knight to score more than two points in the loss with a game-high 18 points. The 6-1 sophomore with D-I tools was impressive, but she proved to be no match for the balanced attack of the Kewpies. 

"All five starters can score," Rolfes said. "They give people matchup problems. Essentially they’re playing four guards, and they’re all good-sized guards." 

Wyoming recruits Amy and Jodi Bolerjack lead Hickman’s offensive attack, which includes four double-figure scorers. Jodi Bolerjack leads the way with a 15.3 scoring average, followed by Amy Bolerjack (11.6), Missouri track recruit Kaela Rorvig (10.9) and 6-3 center Lauren Harris (10.8). 

The Bolerjacks have combined for 94 3-pointers and are shooting better than 52 percent from the field. Rorvig is Hickman’s top defender, and Harris is the school’s single-season (188) and career (455) blocks leader. 

Three of the four started two years ago as sophomores when the Kewpies lost the 4A title game to Lee’s Summit North. In their final go-around, Mirts hopes her seniors - which include starting point guard Stephanie Burger - can lead the way to the program’s first state title. 

"These kids have been really resilient," Mirts said. "When their backs have been pushed up against the wall, they’ve responded very positively." 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Shooting stars lead way back to Hearnes 
Bolerjacks, Rorvig share in rewards of team play.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Friday, March 12, 2004
The game’s on the line, and Hickman point guard Stephanie Burger has to get the ball to the one teammate she’s certain will produce the winning points in the final seconds of a tight game. 

Don Shrubshell photo 
From left, Kaela Rorvig, Amy Bolerjack and Jodi Bolerjack make up a deadly trio of shooters for top-ranked Hickman. The seniors have scorched the nets for a combined 3,455 career points and hope to lead the Kewpies to the Class 5 title. 
So whom would the senior turn to in her team’s time of need? 
"I have to pick somebody?" Burger asked, nervously. "No way! That’s a bad question, man. I get the ball to whoever is hot." 
Fortunately, Burger has a trio of sizzling shooters to chose from. 

Since bursting onto the scene as freshmen in 2000, Jodi Bolerjack, twin Amy Bolerjack and Kaela Rorvig have rarely let the Kewpies down during the most successful four-year run in the program’s history. 

Compiling a record of 105-13 as key members of the varsity, the high-scoring trio has combined to score 3,455 career points entering tonight’s Class 5 Show-Me Showdown semifinal in the Hearnes Center against seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit (23-5). 

Throughout Hickman’s magical 29-1 season, the three seniors all topped the 1,000-point barrier. Jodi was first, and she currently sits second on the team’s all-time scoring list with 1,279 points. 

Rorvig was next to accomplish the feat, and she recently passed older sister Anna Rorvig for fourth place on Hickman’s scoring chart with 1,104 points. Amy Bolerjack’s current total of 1,072 career points makes her the sixth player to score 1,000 for the Kewpies. 


Grand six-pack 
Hickman has had six 1,000-point scorers* in the history of its girls basketball program. Three of them are senior members of this year’s nationally ranked squad. 
1. Missy Stringham, ’96 1,492

2. Jodi Bolerjack, ’04 1,279
3. Briana Fields, ’00 1,255
4. Kaela Rorvig, ’04 1,104
5. Anna Rorvig, ’02 1,085
6. Amy Bolerjack, ’04 1,072 

*Hickman graduates Andi Sutherland (’99) and Tilly Payne (’01) reached the milestone after combining their point totals from other high schools. 

Although the state’s record book includes more than 50 girls who have topped 2,000 points in their careers - including three with more than 3,000 - Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts believes her players’ grand accomplishments are just as significant. 
"I mean no disrespect to a lot of these other kids that are scoring 2,000 points … but they don’t have to share the wealth like these kids do," Mirts said. "Plus, they’re playing against the best competition in the state." 
So how many points could these sharpshooters have scored in their careers if they were the one-and-only scoring threat? 

No one seems to have an answer to that question, because the thought apparently hasn’t popped into any of their state-championship-focused heads. 

"I never really thought about it," Jodi said. 

In typical twin fashion, Amy chimed in with, "I never really thought about that." 

At least Rorvig mixed things up a little bit by adding, "I never really thought of it like that." 

When pressed, Jodi finally relented and offered her best guess. 

"I don’t know," she said, rolling her eyes. "I guess a lot more." 

The truth is, no one will ever know how many points the three superstars could have compiled on their own, and thankfully for Mirts, its something none of her players are losing any sleep over. 

Mirts had already spent many a sleepless night in the preseason wondering how she was going to spread one bouncing basketball around to three point-producing machines once the 2003-04 season started. 

With Jodi fully recovered from an ACL injury that forced her to miss all but the final nine games of last season, Mirts opened this season with three legitimate go-to scorers. 

"My concern was keeping everyone happy," Mirts said. "It’s hard in this day and age to get kids to buy into that team concept." 

Winning helped Mirts sell the concept. 

The Kewpies opened the season by sweeping four games in two days to claim the prestigious Quincy, Ill., Thanksgiving Classic. A 16-point second-half comeback in a home-opening win against defending Class 5 champion Kickapoo at Columbia College didn’t hurt matters, either. 

No matter who was producing the points, the Kewpies kept winning. 

"I like it this way," Rorvig said. "We’re just a better team this way." 

The trio even made room for another scoring presence in the lineup with the inside emergence of 6-foot-3 senior Lauren Harris. All four starters are averaging more than 10 points a game, led by Jodi’s 15.3 average. 

"I think the kids have bought into it," Mirts said. "They’ve seen team success. They’ve come to terms that they’re a better team with all of them and Lauren being an offensive threat." 

Currently riding an 18-game winning streak, the Kewpies have climbed to the No. 1 spot in the state’s Class 5 poll and the No. 9 position in USA Today’s national rankings. 

After evenly distributing the ball all season, the Kewpies hope to share one more thing with each other by the end of the weekend: the program’s first state championship. 

"There’s not another year to say, ‘Oh we can get it next year,’ " Jodi Bolerjack said. "This is it." 

The Kewpies certainly hope so, anyway. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Hickman takes attack into state title game 
Pressure too much for Tigers.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Saturday, March 13, 2004
With a hungry group of five senior starters starving to bring the Hickman girls basketball program its first state title, Kewpies Coach Tonya Mirts simply unleashed her salivating squad before last night’s Class 5 Show-Me Showdown semifinal at the Hearnes Center. 

Ed Pfueller photo 
Hickman’s Stephanie Burger celebrates while Lee’s Summit’s Toni Picerno laments a call in the Kewpies’ 53-28 victory. 
"We were in attack mode right from the start," Mirts said. 
And as seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit discovered in a 53-28 defeat, when the top-ranked Kewpies are on the attack, you best be gettin’ out of the way. 
"When we’re in that attack mode, anything can happen," Hickman senior Lauren Harris said. 

Even an 18-0 lead after the first seven minutes wasn’t out of the question, which just happened to be how the Kewpies (30-1) opened last night’s rout. 

Picking up where they left off when the Kewpies limited Lee’s Summit (23-6) to two fourth-quarter points in a 47-38 win Feb. 13, Hickman continued its defensive dominance over the Tigers. 

Describing Hickman’s defensive effort in the earlier meeting as "stifling," Lee’s Summit Coach Brian Bubalo settled for merely "stingy" this time around. 

"We couldn’t make shots," Bubalo said. "I think we looked a little shaky. We might have been a tad nervous. A lot of it was their defense, too." 

Megan Nyquist, a 5-foot-10 Illinois signee who was held scoreless in the second half of the previous meeting, continued to struggle against the relentless play of Hickman’s Kaela Rorvig. With the 5-10 defensive stopper hounding her from the start, Nyquist missed her first five shots and was 1 of 8 at halftime before finishing with a team-high 12 points. 

"We had a lot of trouble getting Megan open," Bubalo said. "We tried a lot of different things and she didn’t get many good looks all night long. Their defense was just very stingy." 

Lee’s Summit missed its first 10 shots - including three blocks by Harris - and committed four turnovers as Hickman scored the first 18 points of the game. 

"We came ready to play, and that’s what started things for us," said Jodi Bolerjack, who was obviously ready to go. The 5-8 Wyoming recruit made 11 of 12 free throws and led the Kewpies with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. 

Amy Bolerjack, who’s also headed to Wyoming, opened the onslaught with a 3-pointer off a kickout pass from Harris at the 7:16 mark. Jodi Bolerjack scored the next four points followed by another 3-pointer by Amy Bolerjack that was sandwiched around two identical alley-oop inbound plays to Rorvig that made the score 14-0. 

Amy Bolerjack finished with 12 points, Harris totaled 11 and Rorvig scored eight. Baskets by Harris and Amy Bolerjack made the score 18-0 before Jenny Brown’s basket finally got Lee’s Summit on the scoreboard with 41 seconds left in the quarter. 

"That feels pretty good when you’re sitting up 18-0 in the Hearnes Center," Mirts said. "I have to be honest, that made me relax quite a bit. I got to sit down on the bench a whole lot more. I’m usually squatting and chewing my nails." 

Unlike Mirts’ nails, Lee’s Summit did not hold up as well under the pressure of the game - or Hickman’s unrelenting defense. 

Besides Rorvig’s defensive play, Harris shut down 6-3 Lee’s Summit junior Ashley Patterson. Harris finished with seven blocks, while Patterson scored two points on 0-of-8 shooting. 

"That girl has very long arms," said Lee’s Summit senior Tony Picerno, who went scoreless on 0-of-11 shooting. 

With the game seemingly over, Lee’s Summit scored the first six points of the second quarter and held Hickman scoreless until the 2:41 mark when Jodi Bolerjack made two free throws that extend Hickman’s lead to 20-8. 

Lee’s Summit’s mini-run didn’t appear to unnerve Hickman’s student cheering section, who attempted to start The Wave during a timeout midway through the second quarter. Similar to Lee’s Summit’s comeback hopes, though, it trickled about a quarter of the way across the Hearnes Center crowd before fading away. 

Hickman scored the final eight points of the half to take a 26-8 lead into halftime. The Tigers never got closer than 12 points. 

"We were prepared; we knew what they wanted to do," Bubalo said. "They just went ahead and did it anyway. They’re a good team." 

The Kewpies, ranked ninth by USA Today, will play St. Joseph’s Academy (25-4) for the Class 5 championship at 6:30 tonight. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

St. Joseph’s gets rematch

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Saturday, March 13, 2004
By avenging one of its regular-season losses yesterday in Hearnes Center, the fourth-ranked St. Joseph’s Academy girls basketball team will have the opportunity to exact revenge once more this evening during the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown. 
The Angels’ 47-27 romp past second-ranked St. Louis rival Incarnate Word (27-3) set up a 6:30 meeting with top-ranked Hickman tonight for the Class 5 championship. Hickman (30-1) rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun St. Joe 48-46 on Jan. 19. 
"It’s big," Angels Coach Julie Matheny said of the rematch. "We feel like the games that we lost were because of things that we didn’t do well. To have the opportunity to come back and make it look a little different is great. We’d love to play them again." 

The Angels (25-4) got their wish by outscoring Incarnate 26-5 over the second and third quarters. Mackenzie Stirmlinger led St. Joe with 13 points. 

"I think it’s a great matchup for the state of Missouri," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "Both programs have been tremendous all year. The bottom line is - whoever wins it this year - this is a heck of a state to play in because there are a number of good basketball teams in the state." 

Rachel Pierson totaled 14 points and 11 rebounds for Incarnate. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Wild streak 
State title quest eludes Hickman girls.
By JOSH FLORY of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, March 14, 2004
The wave worked out pretty well. The dream season, on the other hand, met a sour end. 
Ed Pfueller photo 
Brittney Cox, left, and Caroline Lamb spell out the first two letters of the Hickman High School mascot as they cheer the Lady Kewpies basketball team in the girls Class 5 state championship match in the Hearnes Center last night. The Kewpies lost 56-44 to St. Joseph’s Academy, finishing with 30 wins and two losses. 
With a 19-game winning streak on the line and a state title within reach, fans of the Hickman High School girls’ basketball team were out in force for last night’s Class 5 state championship in the Hearnes Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 
They went home disappointed, though. The Kewpies - top-ranked in the state and ranked ninth in the nation by USA Today - were knocked off by St. Joseph’s Academy 56-44. 
The disappointing result can’t be blamed on a lack of fan support. Dubbed the visiting team on the scoreboard, Kewpie fans nevertheless packed nearly a quarter of the lower bowl. When the Angels of St. Joseph’s, a private school in St. Louis, were introduced, some Hickman students playfully turned their backs. 

With the Kewps down by a point after a hard-fought first quarter, Hickman students tried for the second night in a row to start the wave. Unlike Friday night’s failure, the effort met with marginal success as a sporadic wave eventually made it back to the Hickman partisans. 

The second quarter came to an ominous end when St. Joseph’s hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer, but backers of the purple and gold stayed positive. Caroline Lamb, a Hickman junior, was in the heart of the student section, wearing a bead necklace, an "E" on her T-shirt, and purple and gold stripes on her face. She explained the purpose of the face paint: "intimidation." 

Lamb said several of the girls who were similarly costumed were members of the junior varsity basketball squad. 

"We wanted to … support the girls because we know they worked really hard for this," she said. 

The game also brought out some familiar faces. 

Former Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Jim Ritter was on hand, as well as former Hickman Principal Ken Clark, who wore a Kewpies football jersey over his dress shirt. 

"I saw them a couple of years ago, and they about made it. … I’m hoping this will be the year," Clark said at halftime. 

Bill McFarland was seeing this year’s team for only the second time, drawn by the recent success. Asked for a prediction at halftime, the Columbia resident expressed optimism but also a portent. 

"I wonder how tall that one girl is, double zero for St. Joseph’s," he mused. 

McFarland had zeroed in on a major problem. Angel center Erin McCarthy, a 6-feet, 5-inch junior, scored 22 points in the victory, and 11 of them came after the half. 

By the end of the third quarter, Hickman was trailing by 14 points. During the break, Hickman fans were largely subdued while, across the way, green-clad Angel fans were standing, swaying and chanting. Shortly after the last period began, Hickman students chanted, "Remember last game," a reference to the Jan. 19 contest when Hickman beat St. Joseph’s after trailing by 18 in the fourth quarter. 

St. Joe’s students responded with a chant of "We can’t hear you," and they had the last word. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, they jumped and cheered; Kewpie fans were a little slower to their feet but offered a standing ovation as their own team made its way off the floor. 

Hickman junior Alyssa Toalson said the loss was disappointing, "but we’re really proud of the girls for making it to the state championship." 

And there’s always hope. "Can’t wait till next year," she added. 

Reach Josh Flory at (573) 815-1719 or jflory@tribmail.com.

Déjà voodoo 
Kewps can’t clear final state hurdle.
By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, March 14, 2004
The top-ranked Hickman girls basketball team was facing the same team, in virtually the same situation, as it entered the fourth quarter of last night’s Class 5 Show-Me Showdown championship game in the Hearnes Center. 
Ed Pfueller photo 
Hickman senior Jodi Bolerjack walks off the court as the players from St. Joseph’s Academy cele-brate their Class 5 state championship behind her last night at the Hearnes Center. The top-ranked Kewpies came into the game with a 30-1 record but couldn’t overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter defi-cit as they fell to the Angels. 
With fifth-ranked St. Joseph’s Academy holding a 14-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, both teams couldn’t help but recall their last meeting on Jan. 19, when the Kewpies rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Angels. 
"I definitely thought we had a shot," Hickman senior Amy Bolerjack said. "We were only down by 14, and we came back from 18." 
And just in case St. Joseph’s had forgotten how that last game turned out, Hickman’s student cheering section offered a helpful reminder early in the fourth quarter with a chant of, "Remember the last game!" 

The situation was all too familiar for St. Joseph’s Coach Julie Matheny. 

"There were some sudden flashbacks. … As a matter of fact, I think their fans reminded us," Matheny said, before breaking into an impromptu imitation of the Hickman fans’ chant with players Kelsey Luna and Erin McCarthy during the postgame press conference. "They were so thoughtful." 

The Angels weren’t as sympathetic. 
Rather than wilt under Hickman’s pressure like they did the last time, the Angels rose above the Kewpies and their No. 9 national ranking to hold on for a 56-44 win. 

"I thought they played great," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "The winner of a state championship should have a great game, and I thought St. Joe played great." 

Hickman (30-2) held St. Joseph’s (26-4) scoreless for the first 3:21 of the fourth quarter but was only able to shave two points off the lead on a basket by Lauren Harris at the 5:47 mark. 

The two teams traded baskets a few times after that, but when Amy Bolerjack made a layup and then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored again to make the score 48-39 with 3:20 left, Hickman appeared to be in business. 

"I was thinking we might be able to pull it off again," twin sister Jodi Bolerjack said. 

Alas, the Kewpies could get no closer. 

St. Joseph’s made enough free throws down the stretch and forced Hickman to make several tough shots that didn’t fall to claim its sixth state basketball title and first since the ending a string of four straight championships in 1994. 

"We knew we’d been in that situation before," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. "We got some turnovers and we got some good looks, but they got a couple of long passes past us and converted those for layups, and I thought that was really, really key. 

"Had we gotten maybe one more turnover and not a long pass like that, maybe they miss a layup and I think the snowball would have started." 

Instead, the Kewpies experienced another disappointing post-season defeat. Making its third Showdown appearance in five years, Hickman finished second in 2002 and third in 2000. 

"It’s disappointing, but we gave it all we had," Jodi Bolerjack said. "We have to be happy with that. They’re just a good team." 

Behind the inside play of 6-foot-5 senior Erin McCarthy, St. Joe shot 61 percent (19 of 31) for the game. McCarthy score 11 points in each half to finish with a game-high 22 points. 

Mackenzie Stirmlinger added 12 points and Katie Heidenreich 11 for the Angels, who lost last year’s title game to Kickapoo. 

Despite struggling offensively for most of the game, Hickman only trailed 17-16 after one quarter and 25-23 at halftime. A step-back 3-pointer before the halftime horn by Luna gave the Angels a little extra dose of momentum going into the second half. 

"That was a gift," Matheny said. "We needed that little mojo." 

Luna was perfect from the field, making all three of her field goals - including both 3-point attempts - to score eight points. 

Hickman shot 38 percent (17 of 44) from the field. Amy Bolerjack led the Kewpies with 14 points and Stephanie Burger added 10. 

Jodi Bolerjack (seven points) and Kaela Rorvig (four) struggled from the field, combining to make 4 of their 19 shots, including an 0-of-8 performance from behind the 3-point arc. 

Hickman finished 4 of 16 from 3-point range. 

"We went through a long stretch in the third quarter where we had a lot of open jump shots," Mirts said. "We have a lot of good jump-shot shooters and nothing fell." 

A jumper by Rorvig was Hickman’s only field goal in the third quarter as St. Joe outscored Hickman 15-3 to take control of the game. 

"I thought our defense once again made us win the game," Matheny said. "These kids were all about getting the opportunity to play Hickman again and taking care of some unfinished business. That was the game plan." 

Unlike the previous meeting, that game plan included playing hard for the entire game. 

"It’s about effort, and we got a lot of it for 32 whole minutes," Matheny said. "Not just three-and-a-half quarters." 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

St. Joseph’s follows a familiar script 
McCarthy scores 22 to lead Angels.
By DAVE MATTER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Sunday, March 14, 2004
A decade ago, St. Joseph’s Academy won four consecutive state championships behind dominant post play from star forward Kristen Folkl. Last night, the Angels followed a similar script to win its first MSHSAA title since Folkl’s last in 1994. 
Ed Pfueller photo 
St. Joseph’s junior Erin McCarthy blocks Jodi Bolerjack’s shot in the first half of the Angels’ 56-44 win. 
Leaning heavily on 6-foot-5 junior center Erin McCarthy, No. 5 St. Joseph’s left the Hearnes Center champions again, knocking off No. 1 Hickman 56-44. 
After scoring just four points in last year’s Class 5 championship game, McCarthy totaled a game-high 22 last night, using a variety of post moves against Hickman counterpart Lauren Harris. 
"Erin really felt confident on the offensive end of the floor," St. Joseph’s Coach Julie Matheny said. "She even asked for the ball, even nicely. That makes us all go." 

From the opening tip, the Angels (26-4) turned to McCarthy, who scored six of the Angels’ first nine points. As the Kewpies (30-2) began to collapse their defense toward the post, St. Joseph’s four guards found room to shoot from the perimeter. The Angels connected on all four of their 3-point attempts, including a buzzer-beater by Kelsey Luna before halftime. 

"It’s difficult when you have four perimeter players that can score so well," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said of the Angels. "They’ve got a good package, and that’s what makes them a great team. You’ve got a kid that’s 6-5 - and I thought Harris did a great job on her most of the night - but she did get some good looks. I think if they wouldn’t have hit the 3s so early in the game, we wouldn’t have been so hesitant to be so tight on those perimeter players." 

As the Kewpies’ only threat to defend McCarthy, the 6-2 Harris couldn’t afford to pick up costly fouls. McCarthy took advantage in the second half, scoring eight of the Angels’ first 13 points. 

"When Lauren has that kind of room, she’s very successful as well," Mirts said. 

Harris, who scored nine points, picked up her third foul with 2:46 left in the third quarter. A minute later, 5-9 Amy Bolerjack got caught on a defensive switch with McCarthy, and the Angels’ center scored easily. 

In a 48-46 Hickman win over the Angels on Jan. 19, McCarthy outscored Harris 16-2. But it was last year’s loss in the championship game that McCarthy was thinking about. 

In that five-point loss to Kickapoo, St. Joseph’s was outrebounded 41-25. 

"About a year ago, we didn’t do so well in rebounding here," McCarthy said. "So we wanted to make sure we did a little better this year. … We didn’t want to hear that speech again. Everyone made sure to work hard again to avoid it." 

As Hickman’s jump shooters went cold, the Angels rarely allowed a second shot despite losing the rebounding battle 27-24. 

"She joked about rebounding, but, honest to God, it’s the No. 1 key that we put up on the board every game," Matheny said. "Playing with four guards, rebounding is about positioning and effort. You cannot allow second shots." 

And with a reminiscent post presence, the Angels are state champions for the sixth time in school history. 

Reach Dave Matter at (573) 815-1788 or dmatter@tribmail.com.

No miracle this time 
Hickman can’t deliver victory.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Monday, March 15, 2004
As the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s Class 5 Show-Me Showdown girls basketball championship game at the Hearnes Center between Hickman and St. Joseph’s Academy was about to begin, one thought kept racing through my mind:

Ed Pfueller photo 
Hickman's Jodi Bolerjack (22), Megan McCabe, center, Amy Bolerjack (30) and Lauren Harris, right, show their frustration after losing the Class 5 state championship game 56-44 to St. Joseph's Academy on Saturday. 
Somebody call Dominos! 
No, I wasn’t particularly hungry at the time - although a gooey slice of pepperoni and pineapple pizza always hits the spot. 
I was harking back to Hickman’s game with St. Joseph’s on Jan. 19 at Maryville University, when the delivery of a stack of pizzas behind the Kewpies’ bench coincided with an amazing 18-point fourth-quarter Hickman rally. 

But as time was winding down Saturday, and the Kewpies were unable to take a serious slice out of the Angels’ 14-point fourth-quarter lead, it became obvious there would be no pizzas delivered, no colossal comeback and, once again, no state championship for another talented Hickman squad. 

The top-ranked Kewpies got as close as nine points twice in the fourth quarter, but this time, fifth-ranked St. Joseph’s finished with a 56-44 state-championship win. 

"These kids were all about getting the opportunity to play Hickman again and taking care of some unfinished business," St. Joseph’s Coach Julie Matheny said. "That was the game plan." 

Unlike the previous meeting - when the Kewpies outscored the Angels 27-7 in the final quarter for a stunning 48-46 win - the game plan included playing full out for the entire game. 

"It’s about effort, and we got a lot of it for 32 whole minutes," Matheny said. "Not just 3½ quarters." 

Hickman (30-2) matched St. Joseph’s effort but was unable to equal the exceptional execution of the Angels (26-4). St. Joseph’s made all four of its 3-point attempts and shot 61 percent from the field (19 of 31). 

"The winner of a state championship should have a great game, and I thought St. Joe played great," Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said. 

Hickman uncharacteristically struggled with its shooting touch. Although the Kewpies fired up 13 more shots than the Angels, they made two less field goals during a 17-of-44 performance. 

Despite its shooting woes, Hickman only trailed 25-23 at halftime. But a costly 1-of-10 shooting drought in the third quarter allowed St. Joseph’s to outscore the Kewpies 15-3 and take an insurmountable advantage into the final quarter. 

St. Joseph’s one ugly blemish on a near-perfect performance was its woeful free-throw shooting. The Angels made just 14 of 25 foul shots in the game. 

Leading by nine with 2:51 remaining, a 4-of-9 free-throw stretch by St. Joseph’s could have proved costly. But the Kewpies were only able to manage one free throw by Stephanie Burger themselves to lose even more ground and fall behind 52-40 heading into the final minute. 

When St. Joseph’s 6-foot-5 Kewpie-killer Erin McCarthy made two free throws at the 1:21 mark - she shot 9 of 13 from the field but just 4 of 10 from the foul line to total a game-high 22 points - it finally appeared certain there would be no miraculous Kewpie comeback. 

"I think the realization hit in the last minute when we told them we’re not going to foul anymore, and they had to watch the clock run down," Mirts said. 

? UPROOTING EXPERIENCE: Mirts has been involved with some heartbreaking defeats over the years, but Saturday’s loss seemed to affect her more than the others. 

The reason for the extra emotion had a lot to do with saying goodbye to five senior starters, who took the defeat in their high school finale especially hard. 

"These kids have been around a long time, so they’ve got deep roots," Mirts said. "They were real emotional in the locker room, and that’s what got me." 

As four-year varsity members, Kaela Rorvig and twins Amy and Jodi Bolerjack have been a part of the program’s most successful era. Over the past four years, the Kewpies compiled a 106-14 record and finished second in the state’s largest class twice. 

Lauren Harris was a three-year starter, and Burger started the past two seasons at the point. 

? DOUBLE TROUBLE: Besides the statistical edges St. Joseph’s held, the Angels also had the Kewpies outnumbered when it came to twins. 

With Katie and Laura Heidenreich in the lineup, and Matheny and twin brother Bob Goessling coaching, St. Joseph’s set of twins doubled Hickman’s Bolerjacks, 2-1. 

With Matheny and Goessling offering no offensive production, though, the Bolerjacks combined to outscore St. Joseph’s twins 21-13. 

? WE’RE NO. 3!: Ranked as high as ninth in USA Today’s national poll, the Kewpies can’t even lay a good claim to being the second-best team in the state after this weekend. 

Despite just two losses, the Kewpies have the rare misfortune of being the only team in the state to lose to both of Missouri’s newly crowned champions. 

Republic (24-7) put some weight behind its stunning 62-60 regular-season win over the Kewpies on Dec. 28 by dethroning 2003 state-champ Duchesne with a 61-55 victory in Saturday’s Class 4 final. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.

Kewpies make all-state team
Bolerjacks, Rorvig honored by media.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff 
Published Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Over the course of their outstanding high school basketball careers, there’s not a whole lot Hickman’s high-scoring trio of Kaela Rorvig and Amy and Jodi Bolerjack haven’t accomplished. 

A. Bolerjack 
J. Bolerjack 
With the release of the Missouri Sportwriters and Sportscasters all-state basketball teams today for classes 4 and 5, the three seniors managed a new accomplishment. 
While they’ve all made all-state before, this year they took different places on the exclusive team after leading the Kewpies (30-2) to a school-record win total, a runner-up Class 5 finish and a No. 20 national ranking by USA Today. 
Former second-team picks Rorvig and Jodi Bolerjack were first-teamers this time, while Amy Bolerjack, a first-team selection last year, was named to the second team. 

Although any of her three superstars had the ability to take over a game, Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said the three combined their talents with senior teammates Lauren Harris and Stephanie Burger to form a menacing starting five. 

"I asked them to make a sacrifice, individually, for our team to be greater and make everyone else better," Mirts said. "It’s unique when you find a team that will do that." 

During their four years on the varsity, the Bolerjacks, who signed basketball scholarships to Wyoming, and Rorvig, a Missouri track recruit, combined for 3,515 points and led the Kewpies to a 106-14 record. 

"They were all able to handle the ball, shoot and defend," Mirts said. "There wasn’t really a weakness in their games." 

Jodi started all four years to become Hickman’s second-leading career scorer with 1,301 points. If not for an ACL tear that sidelined her for all but nine games of her junior year, the 5-8 scoring machine would have likely smashed Missy Stringham’s school-record of 1,492 points. 

With her knee fully recovered, Jodi led the Kewpies with a 15.1 scoring average on 51 percent shooting (168 of 329). She was second on the team in 3-point shooting (42 of 105) behind only the sizzling 57-of-116 performance (49 percent) of her 5-9 twin. 

For their careers, the Bolerjacks combined to make 232 3-pointers on 530 attempts (44 percent). Amy, who made 120 of those 3s, credits a year-round shooting regimen the twins started in the fifth grade for their remarkable accuracy. 

She said on school nights, they each make - not just take - 600 shots. On weekends in the off-season, the twins swish home 1,200 shots. Amy said they alternate in sets of 50, making 300 from the elbow, 300 a step inside the 3-point line and 600 from behind the arc. 

And how many shots does it take to make 1,200? 

"It probably takes me around 1,400 shots," Amy estimated. 

This season, Amy tied for the team lead in field-goal percentage (52.6) and was second on the team in scoring (11.7) and rebounding (5.4). A two-year starter, Amy finished her career fifth on the school’s career scoring list with 1,098 points. 

Inserted into the starting lineup late in her freshman season, Rorvig finished fourth on Hickman’s career scoring list with 1,116 points. The 5-10 guard/forward averaged 10.6 points this year, but her value to the team was measured more in her defensive prowess. 

Although she was coming off an all-state season, Rorvig approached Mirts last summer in an effort to improve herself. 

"She said, ‘What do I need to do to help us make the final four,’ " Mirts said. "I told her, ‘The closer you can close that gap between your skill level and your athleticism, the more successful we’re going to be as a team.’ " 

While the Bolerjacks led the Mid-Missouri Hustlers to a successful summer, Rorvig met with Mirts and junior Megan McCabe four times a week to work on basketball skills. 

The extra work put in by Hickman’s all-state trio paid off. 

Reach Rus Baer at (573) 815-1787 or rbaer@tribmail.com.



  "Go Kewpies"--

This story was published 11/23/2003.

She got game

Hickman girls coach Tonya Mirts lives and breathes for basketball. The secret to her 206-43 record? Equal shares of discipline and devotion. Here she opens up on her love of the game.

Picture five lines of high school girls basketball players. Each line is five players deep. Each of these players has a ball, and row by row, players sprint down the court, stop for crossovers first at the free-throw line, then at mid-court and then at the next free-throw line. Assistant coaches swipe at the players’ crossovers.

There is an air of discipline and focus in the gym. An injured player lies on her back, ice wrapped around a knee and works on her shooting form. She flicks a ball into the air repeatedly.

The pounding of the players’ movements, coupled with the dribbling of 25 basketballs, sounds like a stampede. The gym is filled with a rhythmic, mechanical cacophony. The voices of the coaches rise over the din. The shrillness of a whistle cuts through the noise, and within seconds, the team moves into a new drill. The transition is near-silent. The efficiency is as startling as the volume.

Three hours later, Hickman High School’s first girls basketball practice of the 2003-2004 season finishes. Coach Tonya Mirts is sitting in her office discussing the upcoming season with the assistant coach, Courtney Diehl, when the door opens and in walks Mirts’ husband, Doug, Hickman’s athletic director, and their two daughters. Karley, 9, and Kelsey, 5, crawl into Mirts’ lap.

“Do you think basketball is important to your Mommy?” Mirts asks her daughters.

“Yes,” they say in unison. Mirts and Diehl burst into laughter.

A former basketball player for MU, Mirts is beginning her 10th season as Hickman’s girls basketball coach. In her time there, she has compiled a 206-43 record. Her team ranks 24th in the nation.

Mirts also teaches exercise physiology at Hickman. She spoke with The Columbia Missourian about her passion for basketball.

The Columbia Missourian: You teach. You have two kids. You are married. You coach your daughter’s soccer team and you do this. You must really love basketball.

Tonya Mirts: Well, it’s just a passion of mine. For whatever reason, I liked it as a kid, and the more I liked it, the more I worked at it and developed my skills, and it became something I was good at. I believe it really reflects a lot of things in life. To be a great basketball player, I think you gotta work really hard, and I believe in a hard work ethic. I believe that whatever you try to do, you need to fully invest yourself, so I fully invest myself.

What other game can you get such a high of a high and the next minute a low of a low? I am an emotional person. A lot of the times I wear my emotions on my shoulders. That might be a fault. That might be a strength of mine at different times, but I feel like the game of basketball is like that. It’s something I have played since I was little. I’ve been involved in (basketball) all the way through college as a player, and now the most rewarding thing is being able to teach something you love so much to kids. And hopefully they are getting life-lessons along the way.

I think that’s the biggest thing for anybody in life is to do something they really, really care about and then passion comes with it. It makes all the difference in the world. I’m living the dream. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a science teacher and a basketball coach, and that’s what I am doing. And the icing on the cake obviously are the little girls that I get to come home to when I walk in the door.

CM: Did you have any coaches or older players that mentored you?

TM: I think my high school coach was very much an icon. I believe in some ways I have a similar coaching style to him. He was just so knowledgeable about the game. He studied the game. He worked at the game. All the qualities that I admired in a person, and he was an upstanding citizen. He reflected the things that he preached, and he practiced what he preached as far as that was concerned. He had a large influence on my life.

CM: Who was your high school coach?

TM: His name was William Rider. He actually went by ‘Bunny’ because he could jump real high. No doubt, I think that my family, that my parents, instilled the values and reinforced those values that coach Rider tried to instill. I just shared the same passion as him.

CM: Do you experience that mutual passion with your players?

TM: I think that kids are here because they are really passionate about basketball. I connect better with kids that are just great athletes that are here. You know, they’re doing basketball and it’s helping us out. We’re learning from each other, and I’m caring about them. You know, you really connect with kids and people that have the same passion you do.

CM: Were your parents athletic?

TM: Well, I’m adopted, but my adopted father got drafted in the minor leagues for baseball, but he chose at that time to be a banker in the business world because he didn’t think he could ever make a living. And my mom, she belonged to the G.A.A., Girls Athletic Association. She was in the band and (she) bowled.

As far as my genetic parents, the only thing I know about my parents is that my mom got pregnant in high school at a young age. She was a cheerleader, and he was a quarterback. I was born in ’67 in South Dakota, so the opportunities for girls’ athletics might have been pretty low. That was before Title IX.

But what I will tell you is my (adopted) parents gave me every opportunity to get involved in whatever I wanted to get involved in, and they wholeheartedly supported me so I could thrive in whatever environment I wanted to. I don’t know where that work ethic comes from — whether it was taught, whether it’s intrinsic or what, but I think it was a great quality.

CM: You bring a lot of intensity to your practices. It’s really a whole different level. Is that something you were taught and do you maintain that level through your whole day?

TM: Well, yeah, very much so. I think if you talk to any of my exercise physiology students, one of the characteristics they’ll say about me is high-energy. I believe you have to be invested in what you do. I am not a wide, diverse person, meaning, I don’t get too far out of my area. I enjoy listening to music and I’ll sing at it, but I’m not a very good singer. I played the piano for several years, and I still can’t hear when I am playing the wrong note. I do what I do, and I try to do those things well. I am not really diversified.

CM: You coach basketball, and your husband is Hickman’s athletic director.

What role do sports play in your family, and also, what are you going to do if your daughters don’t take to sports?

TM: That’s a good question because the two children I have are very different. One is very, very aggressive, and one of them is a little bit more passive. I think having kids changed me as a coach in the sense that I realized the kids I was coaching and getting intense with were other people’s children, and somebody might be doing that to my child someday. And even though I don’t think that I am a very relaxed coach by any stretch of the imagination, the kids today are seeing a very different coach than I was six or seven years ago. I was extremely intense. Almost to the point where (I was) sometimes maybe being confrontational. I think the kids and I get along pretty well, but every personality doesn’t fit that system.

The bottom line is this: I love my kids a lot, and whatever they choose to do, whether it be music, whether it be play, whether it be athletics, I want them to be involved with a group of people that have a positive influence on their lives, and I want them to be invested in whatever they do. To work at it, to be as good at it as they possibly can, that’s the value that I am trying to teach as a basketball coach.

We’ve got some super-natural athletes in that basketball gym that bust their tail. We’ve got other kids who are just working their tail, and the only reason they are there is if they love it and they contribute that way. So, hopefully the message that I am sending is work hard at whatever you decide to do, and whatever you choose to do, do it wholeheartedly. That would be the message I would try to send to any kid.

CM: You said your coaching style has changed over the years. Have your values remained the same?

TM: Oh yeah. That’s the thing. What I will say is I won’t treat all kids the same, but I try to treat all kids fairly. One kid maybe will just have difficulty with self motivation, and that kid you might have to be on them a little bit. Other kids, if you are on them, they start to fall apart. And that’s not the whole point. The point is to get the best out of them; they are already a self starter. They are already trying to do whatever they are supposed to do wholeheartedly.

CM: What’s it like to watch your players grow up over four years?

TM: It’s hard. Oh, it’s fun, so fun. They grow up and just when you think they’ve figured it all out, and they are just this great person, they go away. And that’s the hard part about it, but I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding as a coach as to see them walk into the gym or come by and say ‘Hey,’ at school, or come by at practice, or come to a game because there is no doubt that the kids that have graduated from the program are invested in our school’s success. And I think that’s what’s very rewarding. The kids, they all think, ‘Well, there’s a price to pay. There’s a measure.’ Their bar is up there, and they are coming back to check and see if the kids behind them are fulfilling the expectations. And I think that’s neat.

CM: You run such a successful program where things do go smoothly and do work. Obviously when people go out into the world, things aren’t always successful. Things don’t always work. Do you ever have players come back to you when this happens?

TM: Well, I really haven’t had a kid (pause). All of them maybe have not graduated college, but they are all functioning, being very productive citizens. But I have had kids who have had some controversy. I might not be the person in their lives that they are going to come back and talk to. I have had players come back that are having difficulties, and just sitting down talking. Kind of getting back and reconnecting with them.

CM: Does what you teach get instilled in your players?

TM: Not only do I want them to get the most out of themselves, my true job is to not only get that, but to put it together as a team. And as a team, my true job is to try to convince the kids that they are going to be greater as a group than any one of the individuals could be on their own. And they have to buy into that.

When you get a team that buys into that, you know they get this euphoric feeling, and then when they go away and they try to associate it with some other team and that isn’t there, it’s desperately missed.

And hopefully they can take that into the business world, into the world of athletics if they continue it, or just in their own personal lives — that part of being in a group, of being there for the group, and what the group can achieve beyond just what I can achieve. No doubt about it. We want super individual performances, but we want those super individual performances to work with each other in a unit.

CM: Are you excited about the upcoming season?

TM: Ah yeah. Can you tell (laughs)? I’m very excited. I think any coach that’s not excited and passionate doesn’t belong in a gym with high school kids. Do you know what it’s like to be around 16- and 17-year-old kids all day? They have no thought about ‘Woe is me,’ or ‘It’s raining today.’ They are just like vitality like you wouldn’t believe. Nothing can hurt them. They are just invincible.

High school kids are invincible. I think that’s a great quality when you are with them all the time, but obviously as a parent and adult that’s a scary quality, too, because they don’t always think about the third, fourth, fifth thing that’s going to happen down the road to them or the consequences of their actions. But man, they’re enthusiastic. You know, I feed off their energy big-time.

Copyright ©2002 Columbia Missourian

  "Go Kewpies"--



This story was published 12/10/2003.


Top-ranked Hickman rolls again

Staff and wire reports
The Hickman girls’ basketball team got good news Tuesday and also picked up another victory.

The Kewpies rolled to a 73-20 win against Raytown South in the first round of the Blue Springs South Tournament.

Junior Lauren Harris led Hickman with 14 points. Stephanie Burger scored 13, and Jodi Bolerjack and Naomi Tesfamikael each scored 12.

The Kewpies (7-0) are ranked No. 1 in the first Class 5 state poll, which was released Tuesday. Hickman beat Kickapoo 54-52 on Saturday. The Chiefs were ranked 16th in the USA Today preseason poll.

“I think it’s too early to be No. 1,” Kewpies coach Tonya Mirts said. “We’ve got a long way to go to the end of the year and there’s a lot of good teams in Missouri.”

This story was published 12/12/2003.

Hickman rolls into tournament final

Staff and wire reports

The Hickman girls’ basketball team continued its winning streak Thursday.

The Kewpies defeated Blue Springs South 60-41 in the semifinals of the Blue Springs South Tournament. They improved to 8-0.

The Kewpies’ Jodi Bolerjack scored 22 points and Amy Bolerjack scored 15. The Bolerjacks each made three 3-pointers and Kaela Rorvig made one.

The Kewpies play Pembroke Hill in the championship game at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

This story was published 12/31/2003.

Tough defense helps Kewpies roll to victory

Staff and wire reports

The Hickman girls’ basketball team had no trouble earning the consolation championship at the KTXR Lady Classic at Drury University in Springfield on Tuesday.

The Kewpies handled Fort Smith (Ark.) 69-49 with balanced scoring and good defense.

“They just played very well, probably the best we’ve played all season,” Kewpies coach Tonya Mirts said.

Mirts said the Kewpies (13-1) never had to use their press, instead relying on their half-court man-to-man defense all game.

“I felt like our kids communicated, rebounded and played their best team basketball I’ve seen them play all year,” Mirts said.

Mirts said point guard Stephanie Burger’s floor leadership emerged during the tournament and the Kewpies are having more players become scorers.

This story was published 01/04/2004.

Hickman girls’ basketball team rolls past Helias

Staff and wire reports

The Hickman girls’ basketball team won 80-38 on Saturday at Helias.

The Kewpies (14-1) shot 54 percent from the field and 80 percent at the free-throw line as every Hickman player scored.

Kaela Rorvig led the Kewpies with 17 points and 7 assists. Lauren Harris had 16 points, 5 steals and 5 blocks, and Jodi Bolerjack scored 14 and grabbed 5 rebounds.

This story was published 01/06/2004.

Hickman girls’ basketball team rolls

Staff and wire reports

The Hickman girls’ basketball team ran past Glendale 59-32 on Monday in Springfield.

Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpies (15-1) with 17 points and five assists. Amy Bolerjack added 14 points and four steals, and Lauren Harris had eight points and eight rebounds.

Hickman guard Kaela Rorvig scored only six, but played exceptional defense against one of Glendale’s top players. Rorvig held Nancy Thornsbery, who has averaged about 20 points this season, to only six.

This story was published 01/09/2004.

Kewpies face rare challenge

Picking on smaller in-state opponents has been quite the remedy for the Hickman girls’ basketball team after its first and only loss.

To keep their new winning streak going, the Kewpies will have to pick on a team from Kansas much more their size.

Bishop Miege, the two-time defending Kansas Class 5 champion, visits Hickman on Saturday, and Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said it’s a game that win or lose, the Kewpies will find out much more about themselves going into the stretch run of the season.

“Any game you can play against an opponent like Bishop Miege can help you in the long run,” Mirts said.

The varsity game follows the junior varsity game, which begins at 4 p.m.

After a heartbreaking two-point loss to Republic in the KTXR Lady Classic in Springfield on Dec. 28, the Kewpies (15-1) haven’t let any of their games since get that close.

Hickman, ranked 17th in the country in the USAToday Super 25 rankings, has won each of its past four games by at least 20 points. That includes an 80-38 win at Helias on Saturday, a game in which every Kewpie scored.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Mirts said. “I think they played they way they’re used to playing.”

The Kewpies’ depth has been their best advantage to such a great start, and a key to their response to their only loss. Amy and Jodi Bolerjack, Lauren Harris and Kaela Rorvig have emerged as offensive leaders.

“In any game, any one of those five can have a great game offensively,” Mirts said. “In high school basketball, that’s truly hard to find.”

Bishop Miege, of Shawnee Mission, is ranked fourth in the Kansas Class 5 rankings after winning its second consecutive state championship in 2003. It’s the most decorated girls’ basketball program in the state with 14 state titles, eight more than any other school in Kansas.

It was the perfect opponent for Mirts, who wanted to give the Kewpies plenty of experience against good teams before the district and state tournaments. As an independent, the Kewpies don’t have to worry about conference obligations when they set up their schedule, and that gives Mirts the opportunity to schedule tough opponents.

“These are the games that we like to schedule,” Mirts said. “Obviously, you don’t want to drive three hours for every game, but a team as formidable as Bishop Miege is the kind of team we’d like to play.”

Copyright ©2002 Columbia Missourian

This story was published 01/14/2004.

Kewpies use balance to earn easy victory at Kirksville

Staff and wire reports

The Hickman girls’ basketball team defeated Kirksville 59-30 on Tuesday in Kirksville.

The Kewpies, 17-1 and No. 17 in the country in the USA Today poll, got several strong all-around games.

Lauren Harris led the way with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

“At this point, everyone has heard of our perimeter game (with Kaela Rorvig and Amy and Jodi Bolerjack),” Kewpies coach Tonya Mirts said. “I think Lauren demonstrated tonight that she is a very credible offensive force.”

Jodi Bolerjack scored 13 and had eight rebounds, and Amy Bolerjack had 11 points and five assists. Rorvig had eight points and five assists, and point guard Stephanie Burger had six points and five assists.

This story was published 01/20/2004.

Kewpies’ full-court press overcomes Angels

Staff and wire reports

The Hickman girls’ basketball team defeated St. Joseph’s Academy 48-46 on Monday night in the Lady Saints-MLK Classic at Maryville University.

Entering the fourth quarter down by 18 points, the Kewpies (19-1) used a full-court press against the Angels (13-2) and went on a 27-7 run.

“I thought we had a great defensive effort to defeat the No. 1 team in the state,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said.

In the fourth, Megan McCabe had two key steals, and Hickman made four 3-pointers.

Jodi Bolerjack led the Kewpies with 17 points. Amy Bolerjack had 16 and Kaela Rorvig added 8.

This story was published 01/27/2004.

Kewps look well-prepared for state final

Justin Jarrett
For the past three seasons, I have heard and read about the Hickman girls’ basketball team. It has dominated during the regular season only to falter in the playoffs each year.

I finally saw the Kewpies play Saturday, and I would be surprised if they don’t win the big one this time around.

I have to admit I hadn’t seen the Kewpies play because I’m not big on girls’ basketball. I have often likened it to watching grass grow. But I went, and in a word, wow.

The Hickman girls represent something altogether different from high school girls’ basketball as I thought I knew it. They run crisp offensive sets, play hard-nosed defense, block shots, fight for rebounds, and most surprising, they score.

Boy, er, girl, do they score.

The Kewpies beat Parkway South 71-29 on Saturday at The Arena of Southwell Complex at Columbia College, a suitable setting for a team that makes onlookers forget its oldest members are only 18. About the only reminder that these are high school kids are the bobbing heads when Outkast’s “Hey Ya” booms over the loudspeaker during warm-ups.

The Hickman girls are ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 11 in USA Today’s national rankings, and they know how to talk a good game.

“You just can’t think about the rankings,” senior guard Kaela Rorvig said. “When you’re ranked high, teams are going to be marking it on the calendar.”

The Kewpies (20-1) expect, and often get, every opponent’s best, but it usually doesn’t matter. Hickman’s loss came against Republic, ranked No. 8 in Class 4, on a last-second shot in the KTXR Classic in Springfield on Dec. 28. Since then, only St. Joseph’s Academy has played Hickman within 20 points.

Coach Tonya Mirts has to be equal parts coach and psychologist, keeping her players’ minds on winning games on the court, not on paper, where the Kewpies are always favored. Senior guard Amy Bolerjack said there was a point at which the Kewpies lost their focus, but she said Mirts has them back on track.

“There have been a couple of games when we thought about our rankings more than winning,” Bolerjack said. “But I think we’re past that now.”

On Saturday, Parkway South must have felt like the old Washington Generals playing the Harlem Globetrotters. The Patriots (13-5) had enough trouble getting the ball inbounds against the Kewpies’ pressing defense, let alone crossing half court.

Hickman’s press forced the Patriots to make long passes, and when they did, a Kewpie was waiting to swoop into the passing lane.

Their ability to play together unselfishly is the Kewpies’ strongest point. They break each huddle with the word, “Together,” and it sums up the way they play. They make the extra pass, a compliment that evades even many college teams, and their defensive intensity would make Quin Snyder green with envy.

Rorvig chalks up the Kewpies’ play to eight seniors who have played together for almost as long as they have been able to pick up a basketball. So far, the grand finale has been their best performance.

“This year, we’ve really grown as a team on and off the court,” Rorvig said. “I think this is the best we’ve played as a team in a long time.”

It seems like all that talent and experience would make Mirts’ job easier, but she said that isn’t the case.

“You get to the point where you don’t have enough balls to keep everyone happy,” Mirts said. “They’re playing very well as a group, and they all seem to be satisfied at this point. But I think that’s difficult.”

That’s a problem a lot of coaches would be happy to face. On Saturday, it wasn’t a problem. Hickman had five players in double-figures scoring, and two of them, Rorvig and senior center Lauren Harris, outscored the Kewpies’ stars, twin sisters Amy and Jodi Bolerjack.

Getting the right players enough minutes to keep them sharp without the appearance of running up the score is perhaps Mirts’ greatest challenge. The Kewpies’ starters started the second half Saturday despite a 41-17 halftime lead.

Mirts can’t be blamed, though. She has to make sure her team is ready for the stiff competition it will face in the Class 5 playoffs. If that means some of Hickman’s less-spectacular opponents get embarrassed, so be it.

Hickman, No. 2 Springfield Kickapoo and No. 3 St. Joseph’s Academy are the powers of Class 5. The Kewpies beat both by two points, coming from 18 down in the first half to squeak past St. Joseph’s. Both games serve as reminders of the narrow margin of error the Kewpies have for winning a state title.

Mirts said she is happy the USA Today poll comes out only once a week, but added that she’s not terribly concerned her players will let the high rankings and expectations get to them. They have more important things to worry about closer to home. The Kewpies have five games left before the district tournament, and they’re swearing by the “one game at a time” cliche.

“I think the kids are more concerned about what’s going on in the state of Missouri,” Mirts said. “The pressure we feel is postseason, district, that kind of thing. That’s what we’re preparing for.”

The Kewpies have never won a state title in girls’ basketball, though this group of seniors has come close twice. They lost in the finals in 2002 and the quarterfinals last season. This, of course, is their last chance, and the preparation is almost over.

Justin Jarrett’s columns appear Tuesdays.

Copyright ©2002 Columbia Missourian


Kewpies roll

February 27, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY – After a week and a half layoff, senior guard Jodi Bolerjack said Hickman was worried it wouldn’t be as sharp as usual.

It took three early misses and the rust disappeared.

The Kewpies used hot shooting and defensive pressure to defeat Rock Bridge 67-33 on Thursday at Helias in the Class 5 District 10 semifinal.

Top-seed Hickman will face second-seeded Jefferson City High in the championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“It felt good to play again,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “It took us a little before we got our first score, but it’s a playoff type atmosphere and I think everybody was a little antsy.”

Hickman, ranked ninth nationally, opened the game on an 11-0 run. Jodi Bolerjack scored seven points in the span. The Kewpies’ defense forced seven turnovers and held the fourth-seeded Bruins (6-19) scoreless until 2:51 remained in the first quarter.

After Rock Bridge cut the lead to 11-4, Hickman went on a 17-0 run that spanned the next 5:04. Jodi and Amy Bolerjack both scored seven points during the run.

The Kewpies (26-1), who have won 15 straight games, shot 58 percent in both the first and second quarters.

Stingy defense puts Kewpies up early

Rock Bridge attempted 12 field goals in the first half.
“Whenever we play defense really well then that obviously turns into easy baskets on offense, which caused our field goal percentage to go up a lot,” senior guard Stephanie Burger said.
In the third quarter, the Kewpies maintained their intensity. Hickman outscored Rock Bridge 23-7, shot 10-of-17 from the field, forced five turnovers and allowed six field goal attempts.

“It was nice to see our perimeter shots go in on a night when they were trying to double Harris,” Mirts said. “I think that’s what’s makes us dangerous: the balance that we have on our team, the perimeter as well as the inside game.”

Bolerjacks pace Hickman offense

The Bolerjacks’ prepared for Thursday’s game by spending extra time in the gym, practicing their shots. Amy worked on keeping her left elbow closer to her body.
“(Amy) does not need to work on her shot,” senior guard Rachel Conrad said, “But if she’s a little off she goes and works on it.”
Jodi Bolerjack finished with a game-high 18 points. Amy Bolerjack added 13. Both finished the night 5-of-7 from the field.

Senior guard Kaela Rorvig had 14 points for the Kewpies and Lauren Harris added 10 points, eight blocks and four rebounds.

“When they’re hot, they’re hot,” Rock Bridge coach Bob Plourde said. “We gave them the best shot that we could have.”

“I think we’re at a point where we feel pretty good about what we’re doing on the floor and we need to maintain that,” Mirts said.

Kewpies’ defense pays off

February 29, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY — Kaela Rorvig ran all game, but in the fourth quarter the clock did the running for her.

Rorvig led a tenacious defensive effort in Hickman’s 69-39 win against Jefferson City in the Class 5 District 10 title game on Saturday night in Helias.
All the running Hickman did in its pressure defense paid off. With the Kewpies leading 57-24 at the end of the third quarter, officials started a running clock for the fourth.
Hickman (27-1) beat Jefferson City (16-11) 44-43 in their previous meeting Feb. 10. Brianna Culberson, a Jefferson City forward, kept the Jays close in that game with 20 points.
Culberson scored 20 again Saturday, but did not find a rhythm until Rorvig went to the bench in the fourth.

Hickman coach Tonya Mirts praised Rorvig’s defensive performance on Culberson.

“Our team is not complete without that young lady,” Mirts said. “She does such an incredible job defensively. She’s a tremendous athlete, and without her we might be looking at something totally different.”

Rorvig said the increased intensity her team played with in its second game against the Jays helped her guard Culberson closely.

“We were on a mission,” Rorvig said. “We just played a game Thursday, and last time we hadn’t played for a few days when we played (the Jays), so we came out more intense this time. I knew what I had to do, and the intensity of my teammates just helped me out.”

Mirts also saw the difference.

“I think we were much more in attack mode tonight than we were earlier,” she said.

Most of Culberson’s 20 points came while Rorvig was not guarding her, as she scored 16 of her 20 either from foul shots or while Rorvig was out. She earned six of her points from the free-throw line, and scored 10 more while Rorvig was resting on the bench.

“She had a few good looks at the end of the game, and she hit some free throws, but she really didn’t get much head-to-head on Kaela,” Mirts said.

Jefferson City lost its starting center, Alice Parker, when she broke a bone in her left wrist about two weeks ago. This helped Hickman focus all of its interior defense on Culberson.

Jays coach Doug Light said that he was not surprised that Hickman put its best defender on Culberson and that he was impressed with the Kewpies’ defensive effort as a whole.

“With the people that we’ve lost, obviously you’re going to try and beat somebody like that,” Light said. “Rorvig’s a really good defender, and Brianna was kind of in a bad spot where there was a lot thrown on her shoulders. “

Lauren Harris also had a strong performance for the Kewpies playing in the post. She led the team with 20 points and added three blocks. She was a force on the inside all night, especially early in the fourth quarter when she scored on three consecutive possessions.

“They couldn’t handle me from the block,” she said.

As successful as her offensive game was, Harris said that she was most proud of her defensive play.

“I definitely like defense more than offense,” she said. “On defense you can stop somebody, and that feels good to be able to stop somebody.”

Bolerjack driven to do better

Hickman, Kickapoo square off in playoffs for 5th straight year

March 5, 2004

Jodi Bolerjack wasn’t 100 percent and it bugged her.

It was the 2003 Class 5 quarterfinals against Kickapoo. It was the biggest game she had played in since returning from anterior cruciate ligament injury on her left knee.

Hickman lost and she finished with two points.

Memories remain, but a healthy Bolerjack is confident.

Hickman, ranked 10th in the nation, has won 17 straight and will play 15th-ranked Kickapoo in a Class 5 quarterfinal at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Sedalia at State Fair Community College. Kickapoo (26-2) has won nine straight.

“I think we’re going to win,” Bolerjack said. “It’s fun because you know you’re playing the best. We don’t take them lightly. They’re probably our biggest rival and whoever wins keeps going. Sometimes you wish we were on opposite sides, so we could face them in the championship, but that’s how it goes.”

It’s the fifth straight season the Kewpies (28-1) and Chiefs have met in the quarterfinals. Hickman won in 2000 and 2002. The Kewpies also defeated the Chiefs 54-52 on Dec. 6 in the Columbia College Girls Shootout.

After defeating Hickman last season, Kickapoo went on the win the Class 5 state championship.

“They’re a great program, with a great tradition, and they’re a pretty familiar foe,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “I think when two great basketball programs meet prior to a state tournament, it makes it awfully special to get there.”

Bolerjack said she believes attacking Kickapoo is the key to victory.

On Dec. 6, the Kewpies fell behind early and rallied late in the fourth quarter with an Amy Bolerjack 3-pointer.

“When we attack a team they can’t stop us,” Jodi Bolerjack said. “When they attack us, bad things happen to us.”

Amy Bolerjack said: “Each year in the past it has been a close game. We’re hoping to change that this year and get a lead.”

Hickman’s multifaceted attack concerns Kickapoo coach Stephanie Phillips.

“They can do it all and that’s why they’re the best team in the state,” Phillips said. “(The Bolerjacks) are a threat for anybody. But they’re not the only part of the team. Those two are great leaders, but the other kids have filled in.”

Jodi Bolerjack’s outside shooting has proven pivotal recently. She scored 18 in each of Hickman’s district tournament games and added 20 against Francis Howell on Wednesday.

Kickapoo’s Molly Center, an All-State guard, is one of four returning starters. She scored 16 in a 50-36 Class 5 sectional win against Lebanon.

Kailey Mock, a 6-foot-1 forward, has been the Chiefs inside presence since the graduation of Laura Granzow, a 6-foot-3 center.

The Chiefs will be without junior guard Heather Ezell, who scored a team-high 14 points in the Dec. 6 meeting. Ezell tore her ACL against Republic on Jan. 2.

“It’s exciting,” Phillips said. “Every year both programs have become expected to be here. We have a great deal of respect for each other. It’s fun to watch, fun to coach and fun to play in. Not all games are like that.”


Series History

The Kewpies and Chiefs in the state quarterfinals:

2000 – Hickman 63, Kickapoo 39
2001 – Kickapoo 64, Hickman 62, 2OT
2002 – Hickman 54, Kickapoo 50, 2OT
2003 – Kickapoo 55, Hickman 42

Missourian file photo
Hickman's Jodi Bolerjack, here against Francis Howell, was recovering from an injury and scored two points in last year's quarterfinal loss to Kickapoo.

Copyright ©2002 Columbia Missourian

Hickman moves one step closer

Kewpies beat Chiefs, advance to Class 5 state semifinals.

March 7, 2004

Hickman’s Lauren Harris, left, had 13 points, nine blocks and two crucial baskets in the Kewpies’ quarterfinal win against Kickapoo. (ASHLEY FRANSCELL/Missourian)

SEDALIA — As Lauren Harris started to count down, she started to feel better.
It didn’t matter that Kickapoo inched closer; she had the state tournament in her sights.
Harris finished what Jodi Bolerjack started, and the Kewpies defeated the Chiefs 55-40 in a Class 5 quarterfinal game Saturday at State Fair Community College.

Hickman, ranked 10th in the nation and winner of 18 straight, will play Lee’s Summit in the semifinals of the Class 5 state tournament Friday at 6:20 p.m. at Hearnes Center.

“We were getting closer and closer,” Harris said. “I was like, ‘This is it.’

“We’re going to the championship. Even though (Kailey Mock) hit that shot, I was too determined.”

Mock’s jumper with nine-tenths of a second left in the third quarter cut the Kewpies’ lead to 38-30.

Greta Wiersch moved Kickapoo (26-3 and 15th in the country) within six, capping a 8-0 run with 6:14 left.

That’s as close as the Chiefs would get.

Harris, a 6-foot-2 center, took control. Spinning toward the middle instead of the baseline, Harris scored on Hickman’s next two possessions. On the second possession, Harris rebounded her miss, scored and was fouled.

The Kewpies secured the win, making 15-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we were a little passive in the third quarter,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “But we weathered the storm and got the ball back to Harris.

“Late in the game, I thought she got two good muscle looks inside that were really key. She never backs down from anything.”

Despite picking up her fourth foul with about four minutes left, Harris didn’t relent. She had three of her nine blocks late in the fourth quarter.

“She was huge,” Hickman’s Kaela Rorvig said. “Playing with four fouls, she had the confidence to go out there and still block shots.”

Jodi Bolerjack got Hickman rolling, scoring its first eight points.

Bolerjack finished with a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds.

“We lit it up early with J-Bo,” Mirts said. “Jodi Bolerjack came to play.”

Defensively, Hickman frustrated Kickapoo throughout the game.

All-State guard Molly Carter finished with 10 points, six of which came from the free-throw line. Mock scored all eight of her points in the third quarter.

“If Kickapoo was going to beat us it wasn’t going to be with Mock or Carter,” Mirts said. “That was the agenda. They’re great players and when the pressure is on they look to try to take it to the hole.

“(Mock) got a couple late in the game, but she didn’t get started until it was too late. (Rorvig) took Mock out of her game.”

Harris finished with 13 points. Amy Bolerjack had six points and seven rebounds.

“(Hickman’s) got the inside game and the outside game and they’ve got great defense,” Kickapoo coach Stephanie Phillips said. “They’re just a team.

“That’s why we go out to play it. That’s what we all work for is to get our groups to be like that. They’ve reached that this year. Their chemistry is incredible.”

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian

Coach looks to keep making Kewpies better

March 11, 2004
0311mirts.jpg thumbnailHickman coach Tonya Mirts has led the Kewpies to three state tournament appearances since 2000. The Kewpies play Lee’s Summit in the Class 5 semifinals Friday at Hearnes Center. (ANDREA TAYLOR)
Tonya Mirts doesn’t fret about the mice in her office.
A few cockroaches are a nuisance.
When Mirts lies in bed at night, there’s one thing on her mind: How can the Hickman girls’ basketball team, ranked ninth in the USA Today poll and winner of 18 straight, get better?

In her 10th season at Hickman, Mirts has coached the Kewpies (29-1) to their third state tournament since 2000. The Kewpies play Lee’s Summit (23-5) in the Class 5 semifinals at 6:20 p.m. Friday in Hearnes Center.

Mirts’ other state appearances came in 2000 and 2002. The Kewpies placed second in 2002. Hickman lost to Springfield Kickapoo in the quarterfinals in 2001 and 2003.

Mirts, Kewpies excited about semifinals appearance

“It’s an exciting time,” Mirts said. “I think I’m thinking about basketball 24 hours a day.”
Mirts’ zeal for basketball is evident on the court. She’s intense. She’s spirited.
One minute she’s on her feet encouraging her players and the next she’s squatting, analyzing the game.

“She absolutely loves it,” assistant coach Courtney Diehl said. “She never stops teaching people what she knows. She’s so passionate about the game and all of her athletes are so excited to be there.”

Diehl knows from experience. She played at Hickman in the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons, Mirts’ first seasons as coach.

Janelle Riley played for Hickman from 1998-2001 and also returned as an assistant coach.

“I started out wanting to win every game because I’m extremely competitive,” Mirts said. “I was very tough and very demanding. If I’m high-strung now, I was extremely high-strung then. Through the years, I’ve mellowed a little bit.”

Players enjoy Mirts' intensity

Senior guard Jodi Bolerjack appreciates Mirts’ frame of mind.
“She’s intense during the games and practice,” Bolerjack said. “But she also has her side where she jokes around with us.”
Bolerjack said Mirts’ jovial nature is especially evident before the district tournament when Mirts hosts a karaoke and pingpong party.

“It’s not like you have to be serious all the time,” Bolerjack said. “She’s got a good mix.”

Hickman also has a good combination. With eight seniors, including a solid point guard, stellar outside shooters and a strong post game, the Kewpies have a good chance to win a state championship.

The Kewpies have spent time together on the track, in the weight room and at camps. They’re together during the holidays and spend four or five nights together during the offseason.

“I think that’s where a lot of games are won and lost,” Mirts said. “You know everybody’s practicing come November. These kids have invested in each other as a group four years ago. We’ve become a family. You can see the looks on these kids faces that they really enjoy each other.”

Diehl attributes the Kewpies’ family atmosphere to Mirts’ sacrificial and sympathetic nature.

Mirts more than just a basketball coach

She helps kids with their homework. She offers encouragement when a player has a rough day. She gives rides.
“She does everything in her power to help them,” Diehl said.
Bolerjack can vouch for that.

When Bolerjack tore her left anterior cruciate ligament before the 2002-03 season, Mirts helped in the recovery process.

Mirts went to Bolerjack’s doctor appointments. She picked Bolerjack up before school and opened the training room to help Bolerjack rehab.

“To be an adult and work with them and share with them, it’s just untouchable,” Mirts said. “It’s a great experience.”

Mirts dream of coaching basketball and teaching was fostered in her hometown of Douglas, Wyo.

In high school, Mirts played on three state championship basketball teams. Mirts also played at Missouri under Joann Rutherford.

“I love the game of basketball, and it’s a great avenue to teach,” Mirts said. “These kids are smart. They’ve played enough basketball that if you show them what a team wants to do they pick up on it pretty quickly. Confidence comes from preparation and they know they’re going to be very well prepared.”

Mirts stresses preparation and hard work on and off the court.

“Whatever you do, you’ve got to work hard,” Mirts said. “I think that’s one of the things they’ll say about our program, ‘It’s hard work.’ It just doesn’t happen. If it wasn’t so hard it wouldn’t be so special. It’s neat to see them come to that realization.

“It’s been fun but it’s not over yet and that’s the special thing. I think I’ll take a breather when the season is over for a little while but we’ve got to get back to work come summertime.”

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian

Title shot

March 12, 2004
0312bolerjackamy.jpg thumbnailHickman’s Amy Bolerjack, left, and her sister Jodi have taken hundreds of jump shots a day since they were 10 (LIZ MARTIN/Missourian).
/news/images/0312bolerjackjodi.jpg Hickman senior Jodi Bolerjack, center, has averaged 19.7 points in postseason play (SARAH CONARD/Missourian).
At 10, Amy and Jodi Bolerjack felt left out.
Playing soccer and softball weren’t enough.
With so many of their friends playing basketball, Amy and Jodi decided to add another sport to their repertoire.

They started on the driveway with the goal of 50 made shots daily. It took forever. That didn’t discourage them. Before long, the Bolerjacks had deadly jump shots and were basketball fanatics. Seniors at Hickman, the Bolerjacks strive to make 300 shots on weekdays, 600 on weekends and 1,200 during the offseason.

“If you don’t shoot to make it, then there’s really no point,” Jodi said. “It’s fun. I don’t think we’ve ever had a day where we haven’t been shooting, except on Christmas, and then it seems really weird.”

The Kewpies, ranked ninth in the USA Today poll and winners of 18 straight, also strive for perfection.

Hickman (29-1) will play Lee’s Summit (23-5) in the Class 5 semifinals at 6:20 p.m. today in Hearnes Center.

In the other Class 5 semifinal, Saint Joseph’s Academy (24-4) plays Incarnate Word Academy (27-2) at 4:45 p.m.

The Bolerjacks based their shooting routine on the example of Jackie Stiles, the 2001 WNBA Rookie of the Year, who stressed the importance of shooting 1,000 baskets daily.

Stiles played at Southwest Missouri State University and is the NCAA Division I women’s career scoring leader. Stiles averaged 26.1 points per game during her career.

Practice makes perfect

The Bolerjacks typically shoot at the Student Rec Center at the University of Missouri or at their aunt’s church’s gymnasium. Their father, Paul Bolerjack, is relegated to rebounding.
“They’re tremendous shooters and they’ve worked really hard at the skill,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “They shoot more than the average high school kid, there’s no doubt about it. They committed to that a long time ago and they’re obviously reaping the benefits of that.”
Mirts also helped the Bolerjacks develop their shots.

Initially, Amy and Jodi shot from their right hips, but Mirts taught them to hold the ball higher. She also showed them how to use screens effectively.

“They’re basketball junkies and it’s great for me as a coach to have kids in your program who are basketball junkies,” Mirts said. “It’s fantastic. I think anybody can be a great shooter, but not everybody is.

“It takes time and a lot of rote repetition and muscle memory. They’ve gone through the process to develop that more so like a college player would.”

It helps to be well-rounded

In addition to being good shooters, the Bolerjacks can handle the ball.
“Both of them could be point guards and that’s what makes Jodi and Amy very dangerous,” Mirts said. “Both of those two have the flexibility that they can shift over into a ballhandling role and that’s unique at the high school level. A lot of kids that are 2s and 3s can only shoot and they can’t be a point guard.”
Jodi, a 2002 All-State guard, has averaged 19.7 points per game in the 2004 postseason and Amy, a 2003 All-State guard, has averaged 10.

Overall, Jodi averaged 14.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. Amy averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds. Mirts said Hickman’s total package stimulates the Bolerjacks’ production.

“If you just have shooters, you can play tight on them all day long and you don’t have to defend anybody else,” Mirts said. “If you just have an athlete or if you just have an inside player, you can double on them. It really puts the heat on a defense.

“These kids are fortunate enough that they’re going through a time where all of those talents are here and they need to make the most of it.”

Amy said Hickman’s multifaceted attack is what makes it so tough to beat.

“Other teams have one player and if that player doesn’t have a good game, the team loses,” she said. “On this team there are five good players on the court at the same time. It’s easier to beat a team when you can stop one person but it’s really hard to stop a team with five players who play as a team.”In addition to Hickman’s multiple threats, Jodi empathizes the bonds the eight seniors have forged during the past four years.

“We’ve been there,” Jodi said. “We know what has to be done to win and I think everybody understands that. We’re all on the same page and we’re dedicated to winning a championship.”

Living a sports-centric life

Life in the Bolerjack family revolves around sports.
With basketball season, soccer season and summer club teams, the Bolerjacks’ year is full. That doesn’t bother Amy and Jodi’s parents.
“We’d rather be doing this than anything else,” said Arlene Bolerjack, their mother. “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s kept us busy.”

Said Paul: “It’s a way you can have something in common. They enjoy it and you enjoy it. It also let us get through the teenage years with no problems.”

Problems arise when Jodi and Amy go head-to-head. A periodic one-on-one match between them usually ends with their father intervening.

“It’s a little dangerous for us to play against each other,” Jodi said. “We’re just a little competitive.”

Amy’s most competitive moment came in a seventh grade softball game when she stole home and broke her right ankle.

“We figure if you’re going to do something, you might as well give it all you have and that makes it fun,” Amy said.

Amy and Jodi are seldom separated and have a difficult time being away from each other for a day.

This component played into Amy and Jodi’s college decision. They wanted to attend a college where they could play together and wouldn’t be competing against each other for the same position.

They chose the University of Wyoming because every other school had room for one of the two. Their parents also intend to rent a house and make trips to Laramie, Wyo.

Paul Bolerjack said it’s the next stage of Amy and Jodi’s pursuit of excellence, which took root at 10 after watching the Olympics.

“They said they wanted to be in the Olympics when they got older,” he said. “So I humored them and said, ‘Well to be in the Olympics you have to practice six hours a day, every day for the next 12 years.’ They said, ‘Ah, we can do that,’ and before you knew it they were downstairs practicing.

“I thought they would forget about it the next day, but they were right back down there practicing and they’ve pretty much never quit since.”

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian

Hickman cruises to final

March 13, 2004
Sitting on the bench never felt more comfortable for Hickman coach Tonya Mirts.
The Kewpies built up a commanding first-quarter lead and rolled to a 53-28 win against Lee's Summit on Friday in the Class 5 state semifinals at Hearnes Center.
Amy Bolerjack, a senior guard, scored eight points as Hickman (30-1) opened the first quarter on an 18-0 run. The Tigers (23-6) made their first field goal with 33 seconds left in the quarter.

The Kewpies, ranked No. 9 in the USA Today poll and winners of 19 straight, play St. Joseph's Academy in the Class 5 state championship today at 6:30 p.m. Hickman beat the Angels 48-46 on Jan. 19.

"I thought the start was great," Mirts said. "For a coach it feels pretty good when you're sitting up 18-0 when you're at the Hearnes Center. That made me relax quite a bit. I got to sit down on the bench a whole lot more. I'm usually squatting and chewing my nails. I feel a little bit more comfortable when we're ahead by 16 then down by 16."

After the quick start, Hickman went eight minutes without a field goal, but sustained its lead with an intense half-court defense. The Kewpies forced Lee's Summit to spread its offense and didn't allow any uncontested attempts inside.

The Tigers shot 14.8 percent from the field and Megan Nyquist, an Illinois recruit, scored two points in the first half.

"Defensively, I thought we picked up their offense really well," Mirts said. "Kaela (Rorvig) didn't give Nyquist a look early and (Lauren) Harris was just suburb on the block preventing (Ashley) Patterson from getting any easy looks under the basket."

Lee's Summit made two 3-pointers to open the second half, but 12 points would be as close as it got.

"I felt like if we could get one more stop and cut it to single digits we might get a little momentum and get things rolling," Lee's Summit coach Brian Bubalo said. "They just never allowed that to happen, every time we cut it to 12 they were able to answer."

Hickman countered with Harris, a senior center, and senior guard Jodi Bolerjack.

Harris finished with 11 points and had three of her seven blocks in the third quarter.

Bolerjack struggled to find an open jump shot and cut inside instead. She scored a game-high 15, shooting 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Bolerjack also had seven rebounds and six assists.

"When they're playing tight like that you have to drive and create things," Jodi Bolerjack said. "When I drove, they fouled."

Nyquist paced Lee's Summit with 12 points. Ashley Patterson had 10 rebounds and didn't score. The Tigers play Incarnate Word in the Class 5 third place game at 4:30 p.m.

"We couldn't make shots," Bubalo said. "I thought we looked a little shaky. We might have been a tad nervous, but a lot of it was their defense too. We had trouble getting Megan open. We tried a lot of different things, but they were always right there. She didn't get very many good looks all night long. Their defense was very, very stingy tonight."

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian

Kewpies fast start keys win

March 13, 2004
A game cannot be won in the first quarter, but Hickman came close.
Hickman beat Lee's Summit 53-28 in the Class 5 semifinals in Hearnes Center on Friday.
The game was never close. Hickman (30-1) started the game on an 18-0 run that put Lee's Summit (23-6) in a hole from which it could not climb out.
Hickman Coach Tonya Mirts said that the fast start was the key for her team.
"We were in attack-mode right from the start," she said. "I thought we got some good looks right away and I think it set a tone for the game."

Jodi Bolerjack, who set the tone early in Hickman's win against Springfield-Kickapoo in the quarterfinals, said that this start had the same effect.

"We came in ready to play and that's what started things for us," she said.

Amy Bolerjack, a senior guard for the Kewpies, started the run with a 3-pointer with 7:16 left in the first quarter. Lee's Summit's Megan Nyquist tried to answer with a 3-pointer, but missed. The pattern of the Kewpies scoring and the Tigers missing continued for almost all of the first quarter.

Kaela Rorvig, a Hickman senior guard, made two baskets off of in-bounds plays during the run. On both occasions she caught the ball unguarded in the center of the lane and finished with an easy basket.

Amy Bolerjack scored eight points in the run, along with four from Rorvig, four from Jodi Bolerjack, and two from Lauren Harris.

The Tigers did not score until Jenny Brown made a lay-up with 41 seconds left in the quarter.

Lee's Summit Coach Brian Bubalo said that there was nothing his team could do to stop Hickman in the first quarter.

"We were prepared," he said. "We knew what they wanted to do, they just went ahead and did it anyway. They're a good team."

Hickman slowed down offensively, but was able to seal the win with its tough defense. Lauren Harris was instrumental in the effort with seven blocks.

Lee's Summit guard Toni Picerno expressed her frustration with Harris ability to stop the Tigers.

"That girl has very long arms," Picerno said. "She's good. We had to adjust a little bit, and we didn't adjust that great."

Hickman will face St. Joseph's Academy (25-4) in the Class 5 state championship game tonight at 6:30 at Hearnes Center.


Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian

St. Joseph's on road of redemption

March 13, 2004
MacKenzie Stirmlinger called it ironic, but it was more like inspiration.
St. Joseph's Academy avenged a regular season loss to Incarnate Word, winning 47-27 on Friday in the Class 5 semifinals at Hearnes Center.
The Angels (24-4) will play Hickman (30-1) in the Class 5 championship at 6:30 p.m. today. The Kewpies beat St. Joseph's 48-46 on Jan. 13.

St. Joseph's coach Julie Matheny said rematches with Incarnate Word (27-3) and Hickman made it hungry and it was evident Friday.

Trailing 12-8, the Angels outscored the Red Knights 13-2 in the second quarter. Stirmlinger, St. Joseph's sophomore guard, started the rally with a 3-pointer and scored nine of her 13 points in the first half.

St. Joseph's extended its lead, outscoring Incarnate Word 13-3 in the third quarter.

Incarnate Word committed 24 turnovers and went more than 10 minutes, from the end the first quarter until the beginning of the third quarter, without a field goal.

"We asked all the kids to step in and be ready to play some defense," Matheny said, "and defensively is where I think we won the game tonight."

Guards Kelsey Luna and Molly Fitzsimmons each had eight points and four rebounds for the Angels.

"We knew in order for us to take care of business we were going to have to execute in the backcourt," Matheny said.

Rachel Pierson, a 6-foot-3 center, led Incarnate Word with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Felicia Chester added six points and six assists.

The Red Knights had their 17-game winning streak snapped.

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian


Bad ending

Kewpies can’t complete comeback vs. St. Joseph’s

March 14, 2004
0314hickmanhoops-deject.jpg thumbnailHickman senior Lauren Harris leaves the court as the St. Joseph’s Angels celebrate their upset win against the Kewpies in the Class 5 championship game.(SEAN GALLAGHER/Missourian)
/news/images/0314hickman.jpg Hickman’s Jodi Bolerjack tries to hold onto the ball while being guarded by St. Joseph’s Kelsey Luna in the 5A State Championship Game at Hearnes Center on Saturday. The Kewpies lost 56-44, ending a 19-game win streak. (LIZ MARTIN/Missourian)
St. Joseph’s Academy remembered; it didn’t need Hickman fans to remind them.
The Angels withstood the Kewpies’ rally and taunts of “remember the last game” to win the Class 5 championship game 56-44 on Saturday at Hearnes Center.
On Jan. 19, Hickman overcame an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit and beat the Angels 48-46.
The loss ended a 19-game winning streak for the Kewpies (30-2), ranked ninth in the USA Today poll.
“These kids were about getting the opportunity to play Hickman again and take care of some unfinished business,” St. Joseph’s coach Julie Matheny said. “That was the game plan.”

It wasn’t as easy as it hoped; Hickman’s Amy Bolerjack made sure of that.

Trailing 46-33 with 3:57 left, Bolerjack drove the length of the court and scored.

On St. Joseph’s next possession, Bolerjack stole Laura Heidenreich’s inbounds pass and scored, bringing the Hickman faithful to their feet.

“I definitely thought we had a shot considering we were only down by 14 before that point,” Bolerjack said.

Under intense full-court pressure, St. Joseph’s (26-4) didn’t fold. Kelsey Luna found Mackenzie Stirmlinger for a wide-open layup with 3:18 left.

“We knew we had been in that same situation before,” Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said. “We got some turnovers, we got some good looks, and they got a couple of long passes past us and they converted those layups. I thought that was really, really key.

“Had we gotten maybe one more turnover and not a long pass like that, maybe they miss a layup, I think the snowball would have started.”

Hickman cut the lead to 48-39 with 2:59 left, and Luna’s missed free throw gave it a chance to move closer.

Senior center Lauren Harris rebounded Bolerjack’s missed 3-pointer and was fouled. She missed the first free throw of the one-and-one. Nine was as close as Hickman would get.

“They gave us some opportunities on missed free throws,” Mirts said. “But we never seemed to get over the hump and convert, hit a 3 or something like that, to get a little bit of momentum to cut that lead to six or seven.”

St. Joseph’s Erin McCarthy, a 6-foot-5 center, said it wasn’t until about 10 seconds were left that she could breathe easy and Matheny agreed.

“Boy, there were some sudden flashbacks,” Matheny said. “With 5:43 in the fourth quarter there were all sorts of flashbacks, even with 3:38. Even with 30 seconds, Bobby (Goessing) turned to me and said, ‘Are you comfortable yet,’ and I said, ‘Aaah.’”

Mirts said the first half had the marking of a close game. St. Joseph’s jumped out to a 12-6 first-quarter lead, but Hickman responded with a 10-0 run in the next three minutes.

The teams traded leads until Luna made a 3-pointer at the end of the first half, giving the Angels a 25-23 lead.

St. Joseph’s extended its lead in the third quarter. McCarthy scored eight of her game-high 22 points in the quarter.

Hickman was 1-for-10 from the field in the third quarter. Bolerjack finished with 14 and Stephanie Burger added 10.

“It’s about effort and we got a lot of it for 32 whole minutes, not just three and a half quarters,” Matheney said.

The Angels lost to Springfield Kickapoo 51-46 in the 2003 Class 5 championship game.

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian


Hickman can’t solve defense

March 14, 2004
0314hickman-whoops-1.jpg thumbnailHickman’s Stephanie Burger, driving against St. Joseph’s Kelsey Luna, right, and Erin McCarthy, had 10 points, but Hickman could not overcome the Angels’ defense.(LYDIA WALLACE/Missourian)
Two teams needed to get inside Saturday, but only one held the key.
The St. Joseph’s Academy Angels beat the Hickman Kewpies 56-44 in the Class 5 girls’ basketball title game at Hearnes Center.
St. Joseph’s (26-4) blocked the passing lanes all night to force Hickman (30-2) into a perimeter shooting game. As a result, the Kewpies shot 40.9 percent.
Kaela Rorvig and Jodi Bolerjack each made two shots in the game, and neither made a 3-pointer.
Hickman coach Tonya Mirts said it was not her team’s night for shooting.

“Frankly, I suppose we feel a lot like Lee’s Summit last night,” she said. “(We had) a lot of shots that didn’t go in. We went through a long stretch in the third quarter where we had a lot of open jump shots, and we’ve got a lot of good jump shot shooters and nothing fell.

“Obviously, St. Joe’s put a lot of pressure on us; we were further away from the basket than we normally are.”

The Angels, on the other hand, went inside with ease. Erin McCarthy, a junior center, led all scorers with 22 points and had eight rebounds.

St. Joseph’s coach Julie Matheny said she was pleased with McCarthy’s performance.

“Erin really felt confident today on the offensive end of the floor,” Matheny said. “She even asked for the ball, even nicely. It makes us all go.”

Mirts said St. Joseph’s success on the perimeter lead to its success inside.

“It’s difficult when you have four perimeter players who can score so well,” she said. “They’ve got a kid that’s 6-5, and I thought (Lauren) Harris did a good job on her most of the night, but she did get some good looks. I think if they wouldn’t have hit the 3s early in the game … that gave her a lot of room to maneuver.”

St. Joseph’s appeared to dominate inside all game, but it was outrebounded offensively 5-1 in the first half. This caused some team members to have flashbacks to the 2003 Class 5 championship game, where it was dominated on the boards and lost to Springfield Kickapoo 51-46.

McCarthy said that she wanted to make sure not to have a poor rebounding performance in the second half this time.

“About a year ago, we didn’t do so well in rebounding,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we did a little better than, I think it was what, 10 against one last year in the first half, and I didn’t want to hear that speech again. Everyone worked hard trying to avoid it.”

Mirts said St. Joseph’s deserved the title.

“I thought they played great,” she said. “The winner of a state championship should have a great game, and St. Joe’s played good.”

Copyright © 2004 Columbia Missourian

  "Go Kewpies"
(2004 Class 5 Girls Basketball) Sectionals-3/3/04    Quarterfinals-3/6/04   Semifinals-3/12/04   Finals-3/13/04    
Farmington Civic Center, 6:30 PM  
Poplar Bluff(23-6) 40
UMSL 6:30 PM  
St. Joseph's(23-4) 58
St. Joseph's(24-4) 47
Hearnes Center  
4:25 PM  
Incarnate Word(24-2) 27

St. Joseph's(26-4)

6:30 PM  


3rd Place  
Incarnate Word(25-3) 60
4:30 PM  

Lee's Summit(23-7)

ST. JOSEPH'S (22-4) 48
Meramec Community College 6:30 PM  
NERINX HALL (21-8) 30
WASHINGTON (17-11) 26
Flo Valley Community College 6:30 PM  
Gateway Tech(18-7) 29
UMSL 1:30 PM  
Incarnate Word(23-2) 41
Northwest High School (House Springs) 6:30 PM  
MEHLVILLE (17-10) 42
Borgia High School 6:30 PM  
HICKMAN (27-1) 67
Hickman(28-1) 55
State Fair Community College 6:30  
Kickapoo(25-3) 40
Hickman(29-1) 53
Hearnes Center  
6:20 PM  
Lee's Summit(23-5) 28
LEBANON(21-7) 36
SW Baptist University, Bolivar 6:30 PM  
KICKAPOO(24-2) 50
St Joe Civic Arena 7:00 PM  
Notre Dame de Sion(18-11) 38
Central Missouri St. 1:00 PM  
Lee's Summit(22-5) 56
LEE'S SUMMIT(21-5) 44
Lee's Summit H.S. 6:30 PM  
LIBERTY (23-5) 36

  "Go Kewpies"

Week of March 13, 2004  Top 10

1--Yeah!, Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris

2--One Call Away, Chingy Featuring J. Weav

3--Slow Jamz, Twista Featuring Kanye West & Jamie Foxx

4--The Way You Move, OutKast Featuring Sleepy Brown

5--Tipsy, J-Kwon

6--Hotel, Cassidy Featuring R. Kelly

7--Me, Myself And I, Beyonce

8--Splash Waterfalls, Ludacris

9--Sorry 2004, Ruben Studdard

10--Hey Ya!, OutKast

Last Champs 42 Years Ago

Week of March 10, 1962  Top 10

The last State Championship Basketball Team @ Hickman High School was the Boys State Championship in 1962

The Kewpie's got their mascot on the basketball court in 1913!


  "Go Kewpies"