Hickman basketball prepares for season during pandemic

Hickman senior forward Jackson Kespohl (left) celebrates with senior shooting guard Seth Larson (right) on the sideline at practice.

COLUMBIA — The Hickman Kewpies boys basketball team has been practicing the past few weeks ahead of their upcoming 2020-21 campaign.

The varsity roster will include eight seniors, most of which haven't played together at the same level in years.

"The last time I played with all of them was middle school," senior shooting guard Seth Larson said. "It's going to be pretty fun to play with my friends finally in high school on the same court."

Seniors like forward Jackson Kespohl understand that like most sports during the pandemic, their final year isn't guaranteed.

"We're all really just working hard knowing that any day could really be the last day," Kespohl said. "[We're] making the most out of the time that we have and really trying to come together as a team and play hard."

Hickman head coach Cray Logan hopes that the pandemic won't prevent the seniors from being able to finish out their Kewpie career.

"I want to make sure that our seniors who have been with us throughout this entire four seasons, they get a chance to finish out their senior year," Coach Logan said. "That's really important to me."

Since Hickman hired Logan in 2016, the Kewpies have had a record of 26-75. Last season, Hickman won only four games. The seniors hope this will be the year to turn things around for the program.

"We've gotten rid of the stereotypes and bad things that we've had in the last three years," Larson said. "We're more positive, we're ready to play and we're ready to show this town what we're made of."

Coach Logan knows his coaching staff does what they can to teach the athletes, but at the end of the day, it's the passion of the seniors to defeat those stereotypes this season.

"That's up to them as a brotherhood," Coach Logan said. "I believe that the buy-in that these young men have is going to help with that as well."

Other than the competition, the seniors are looking forward to a sense of normalcy in their otherwise unusual senior year of high school.

"Basketball's a great way to get back into what a senior year would be like," Kespohl said.

Hickman will start their season at Raytown South on Monday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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