By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — After missing the past five weeks with an elbow injury, Southmoore’s Serithia Hawkins returned to action Feb. 11 against Westmoore.
Hawkins’ return was supposed to set the SaberCats’ ship right, who had only two wins in past 11 games. But the Jaguars didn’t care. All they wanted to do was beat their rival on their home court.
Behind the clutch play of Callie Palmer, Westmoore came away with 57-55 victory over the SaberCats at Southmoore High. It was the second time this year the teams have come down to the wire. But this time the outcome was in the Jags’ favor.
“It was pretty crazy,” Westmoore guard Ashley Gomez said. “We had to think, going down to those final seconds, de ja vu. But I think we were ready for it this time. We were more confident than we were last time. We were just ready to win.”
Trailing by seven points, the SaberCats got back-to-back layups from Kyeria Hannah and Hawkins to cut Westmoore’s lead to three. But the Jags’ Victoria Lay beat Southmoore down the court for an easy layup to push the advantage back to five.
Hawkins was fouled with 53 seconds left and went to the line. She drained both to get the ‘Cats to within three.
Southmoore forced a turnover and after a mad scramble, Cydni Campbell drained a 3-pointer with 22 seconds on the clock and tied the contest at 55-55.
The Jaguars weren’t done. They had been in this situation before and had learned from past mistakes.
“I was telling the team we had plenty of time to score,” Westmoore coach Andrea Guziec said. “It was tied. We weren’t going to lose this ball game. We are going to go win it. And that we had nothing to lose, just go crash the boards hard.”
Gomez drove into the lane and put up a shot that was off the mark. Palmer battled Hawkins for the rebound and put the ball back up for the game-winning basket.
“If I remember correctly, Callie and Momo (Hawkins) both had their hands on the ball,” Guziec said. “I just think Callie wanted it a little bit more right then and ripped it from her and put it back up.”
Richardson led the Jaguars with 18 points. Gomez added 14. Lay and Sydney Chastain posted 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Hawkins picked up where she left off five weeks ago. In her first game back she posted 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Hayley Eaves added 11 points and Campbell chipped in with 9.
“Overall, I thought I saw some hunger from us I hadn’t seen in a while,” Southmoore coach Britney Kannady-Sayes said. “So I am proud of that. Obviously, we lost and that hurt. But we made some key mistakes, especially at the end of the ball game. If we play that hungry and learn from the mistakes, we can shake that off and move forward from here.”
Norman North girls 59, Moore 52: The Lady Lions had a chance to pick up their biggest win of the season when they trailed by only two points heading into the fourth quarter against the seventh-ranked Timberwolves Friday.
However, missed free throws and opportunities kept them from pulling off the upset on the road.
Amanda Patterson paced Moore with 17 points. Breanna Jones added 11.
Westmoore girls 45, Del City 38: Sydney Chastain scored 14 points to lead the Jags (11-9) past the Eagles Friday. Ashley Gomez chipped in with 9. But it was Kaci Richardson’s 17-rebound performance that was too much for Del City to handle.
Edmond Memorial girls 45, Southmoore 33: The Lady SaberCats fourth quarter struggles continued despite the return of Serithia Hawkins to the lineup. They were outscored 19-9 in the final eight minutes as they lost by 12 to the bulldogs.
Jamia Shepard and Cyndi Campbell led the Cats with 8 points each.
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org