Winning never gets old

Something new: Hickman's gym, where the Kewpies have played one game.

Something old: Fleming Fieldhouse, where they've been playing basketball since 1964. Do you have a guess on the number of games played in this old girl in the last 48 years?

Me neither.

Something really, really old: Jefferson City vs. Hickman.

But this never gets old.

Neither does winning.

The Kewpies used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take the lead for good and hold off a game effort by the Jays, 56-51 on Tuesday night at Fleming Fieldhouse.

Just 10 days ago, the Kewpies walloped the Jays by 27 in the fifth-place game of the Blue Springs Tournament. On this night, the Jays were 22 points better.

But it still wasn't good enough.

"We knew it wouldn't be a 27-point game again, not here ... we know how tough they are at home," Hickman coach David Johnson said. "Plus, we didn't have our big kid (6-6 senior Cecil Williams, one of just two seniors on the roster), because he's home with the flu.

"Our guys really stuck it out, gutted it out, and got a good victory."

Despite a 22-point improvement, there was no moral victory for the Jays (4-4) and Blair Thompson.

"I thought we paid attention to our game plan and we executed a lot better than we did the first time around," said the Jays head coach, "and we gave ourselves a chance to win.

"They just made more plays than us down the stretch. We did a lot of good things, now the next step is learning how to win a big, close game like this."

The Kewpies (9-1) led 14-13 after one quarter, 32-23 at the half and 44-38 entering the fourth. The game-deciding moment came with one minute left, when the Kewpies --- who were nursing a 50-48 lead --- received a three-point play from Douglas Johnson.

That made it 53-48 and it was never less than a two-possession game the rest of the way.

Maybe that wouldn't have mattered, however, as the Jays pulled off a five-point possession in the third quarter --- a bucket by Ogugua Anunoby, a foul, a missed free throw, and a rebound and three-point play by Scott Stegeman.

"That helped, obviously," Thompson said, "but it wasn't enough. We're close and we're getting closer, but we're not there yet."

There was no five-point play coming in the final minute for the Jays, who received 13 points from Anunoby and 11 for Stegeman.

Chris Clark tallied 16 points to pace the Kewpies who are now --- in case you missed it --- a sparkling 9-1.

These Kewps are on a roll.

"They have a will to win," David Johnson said. "They play with a lot of heart and passion, plus they also play smart."

Hickman's one home game in its new gym was certainly a noteworthy one, as the Kewps beat Rock Bridge last week to snap a dreadful 21-game losing streak that spanned nearly nine years to their crosstown rival.

The people in purple, however, took it in stride.

"We didn't care about 21 wins or 21 losses or anything like that," David Johnson said. "We were just concerned about the moment and we felt like if we played our game, we'd be in good shape.

"But it was a nice win, a good win."

Winning never gets old.