A Rock'n night at Mizzou Arena

Hickman fans cheer on the Kewpies Friday afternoon at Mizzou Arena

COLUMBIA --- If you're a fan of the Jefferson City Jays, who do you pull for when Rockhurst squares off against Hickman?

If your answer is Rockhurst, you're happy.

If your answer is neither, you're not.

Sorry, there are no ties in basketball.

In a stunning comeback, the Rockhurst Hawklets hit their first six shots in the fourth quarter --- including four straight 3-pointers to open the frame --- to rally past the Hickman Kewpies 67-59 in the Class 5 semifinals Friday night at Mizzou Arena.

This turned out to be a Rock'n night at Mizzou, as the Rock Bridge Lady Bruins battled past the Blue Springs Lady Wildcats 43-32 in the finale of Friday's eight-game set.

The Lady Bruins (24-5) will be seeking their second straight state championship when they face St. Joseph's Academy (23-5) for the Class 5 title at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

But since the Kewpies have waited 31 years to get to the Final Four --- and 51 years since the school's last state title --- we'll start with them.

Everything had gone so right for the top-ranked Kewpies (26-3) this season, as well as for the first three quarters Friday night.

They led 14-9 after one quarter and extended the lead to 32-24 at the half --- despite a four-point play by the Hawklets' Brad Wilkins in the second quarter.

Hickman led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, before settling for a 50-42 advantage entering the fourth.

"It looked like we were on a pretty good roll, but we weren't really capitalize on it," Hickman coach David Johnson said. "They just keep hanging around."

The Hawklets (25-5) went from hanging around to hanging one on the Kewpies.

Rockhurst had been 1-of-9 on 3-pointers in the first three quarters, before Kyle Wolf knocked one down 15 seconds into the fourth to make it 50-45.

"Once I got that one down," Wolf said, "it helped my confidence and the confidence of the team. And everyone just started hitting shots."

Here's a recap of the Hawks' next three shots --- bam, bam, bam, all 3-pointers, one more by Wolf, two by Michael Jones.

It went from 50-42, Hickman, to 54-50, Rockhurst, in a blink.

"They made shots, they really made shots," Johnson said. "It wasn't because we weren't trying, they just made shots."

The shots by Wolf, who finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, were expected. The ones by Jones were not.

"He's our fifth-best 3-point shooter," Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum said.

Said Johnson: "We had watched a lot of film on them, and we'd never seen him shoot like that. That really seemed to give them some momentum."

The Hawks hit their next two shots, as well, and led 60-54 with three minutes left.

"It was like they just couldn't miss," said Hickman's Chris Clark, who scored 12 points.

The Kewpies did get within three points twice down the stretch, the last coming at 62-59 with 1:44 left on two free throws by slender sharp-shooter Jimmy Whitt, who dumped in 21 points.

But Rockhurst scored the final five points, outscoring Hickman 25-9 in the fourth, to win going away.

"I'm certainly disappointed," Johnson said, "but I'm really proud of these guys, because they fought. For three quarters, we were the better team. We just didn't get it done in the fourth."

Rockhurst will meet DeSmet (25-6) at 6:40 p.m. Saturday for the state title, while Hickman will play Vianney (22-9) for third place at 11:30 a.m.

A meaningless game? In the morning, no less? Hardly --- especially since you haven't been there in 31 years.

"The game has a lot of meaning; it's about our pride, bottom line," Johnson said. "We've got to step up and show what we're really about."


ROCK BRIDGE HAD blasted Blue Springs 64-32 early in the season. On this night, however, there was no blasting.

In a defensive struggle --- or perhaps you could call it an offensive struggle --- the Lady Bruins turned back the Lady Wildcats 43-32.

Rock Bridge (24-5) led just 6-4 after one quarter, 18-16 at the half and 27-22 after three quarters.

Blue Springs (23-5)) within 32-29 midway through the fourth, but the Lady Bruins finished an 11-3 run --- hitting five of their final seven shots --- to seal the deal.

Cierra Porter finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Bruins, who won the board battle 39-23. Audrey Holt also had 12 points for the winners, who finished with 12 assists compared to just seven turnovers.

Rock Bridge beat St. Joseph's 55-40 last month at a tournament in Webster Groves. On Saturday, the Lady Bruins will be looking to Rock Mizzou Arena one more time.

And for the second straight year.