By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
With No. 6 Edmond Memorial coming to its place, Southmoore was looking to pull off the upset. Even though it hadn’t been able to beat a top team this year, the SaberCats felt it was their time.
The SaberCats had their chances late, but weren’t able to make enough plays down the stretch as they fell 62-54 to the Bulldogs at Southmoore.
“Execution at times was good, but I really am proud of my kids for playing as hard as they played,” Southmoore coach Wes Brown said. “We were kind of short handed, in the second half especially as far as our experienced players. But I am real pleased with the effort of my kids.”
With 2:52 left in the game, Edmond led 51-42. The Bulldogs’ Jacob Essman gave his team an 11 point advantage with a tough layup in the paint.
Then, Justin Bean responded with a 3-pointer in which he was fouled at the top of the key. The ensuing free throw gave him a four-point play. After the ’Cats came up with a defensive stop, Chelvin Webb hit a jumper and the Dogs lead was down to five.
With 1:21 left on the clock, Essman knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead to 55-48. Southmoore’s Preston Smith then turned the ball over in the corner and the ’Cats had to start fouling.
But Edmond made its free throws down the stretch to put the contest away.
“I think they were trying real hard to get the ball to Preston and trying to get the ball to Justin Bean,” Brown said. “Spacing was bad. Just trying too hard. I probably should have ripped a timeout right there. But sometimes it’s good to let them solve the problem themselves.”
Taylor Hicks had a game-high 19 points for Edmond. Trey Sneed scored 14. Essman was held to eight points.
Bean led the SaberCats with 18 points. Smith added 15 and Chelvin Webb chipped in with 10. As a team, the ’Cats were 14-of-21 from the free throw line.
Southmoore suffered a rash of sprained ankles and small injuries to several players during the Bartlesville tournament over the weekend. Despite that, they came out firing against the Bulldogs.
Smith drained a pair jumpers as the ’Cats trailed 14-11 after the first quarter.
However, those shots stopped falling in the second. Whether it was an open jumper in the paint or tough layups, the SaberCats went cold from the field.
Yet, Southmoore’s defense still played at a frenetic pace and kept Edmond from pulling away.
After Bean buried a pair of 3-pointers, Southmoore was down 26-21 heading into halftime.
After scoring one point in the first half, Southmoore guard Donya Rice came out of halftime in street clothes and didn’t play in the second half due to a bad ankle. This made the SaberCats already short bench even more limited and forced them into a six-man rotation.
"Two of the top guards on this team are out," Brown said. "Somebody has to step up and take their place."
The Bulldogs didn't shoot particularly well from the field. But they found ways come up with rebounds and loose balls. This led to second chance points.
Edmond held an 11 point advantage going into the fourth period.
"We didn't play our best basketball," Webb said. "We didn't rebound enough. Defense was OK. I think we will get them next time. I think we would be 10-0 if we would stop making fundamental mistakes."
Edmond Memorial girls 41, Southmoore 39: Playing without Serithia Hawkins for the second consecutive game, the SaberCats were still trying to figure out how to play without their leading scorer and rebounder.
Despite that, the ’Cats led for much of the first three quarter. But with 1:40 left in the third, the Bulldogs jumped back in front 32-31. Southmoore didn’t score again until 5:18 left in the fourth quarter.
With 3:35 left in the game, the score was tied at 35-35. But Michaela Mack gave Edmond a lead with a baseline lay-up. Southmoore’s Jamia Shepard hit a jumper to tie it back at 37-37.
The Lady Bulldogs pulled ahead when Jessica Foster connected on a shot with 25 seconds left in the fourth. The SaberCats went to Kyeria Hannah down low and she responded with a clutch shot under pressure.
The Bulldogs got the ball back with 13.7 seconds on the clock. That was enough time for Andee Decker to make her way into the middle of the lane and fire off a last-second shot to beat the buzzer and give the Lady Bulldogs the walk-off win.
After starting the season 8-0, Southmoore has now lost three straight.