By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
Southmoore coach Britney Kannady-Sayes knew it wouldn’t be pretty. When her third-ranked Southmoore girls basketball team hosted No. 4 Norman North, she figured the game wouldn’t come down to technique and jump shots.
Kannady-Sayes was right, as the SaberCats held off the Timberwolves for a 55-47 victory at Southmoore High.
“You know the number that’s on your back,” Kannady-Sayes said. “You can’t not tell the kids. They know the number that’s on their back. All that does is bring motivation. Maybe a little bit of pressure. In those type of ball games, it’s not going to come down to who plays the best or shoots the best. It’s going to come down to the loose balls and rebounds. The ones who are going to dig out and play with heart.”
Early on Southmoore tried to get the ball into the hands of Serithia Hawkins and Kyeria Hannah in the paint. Even though the Timberwolves surrounded the duo, they found a way to get buckets seemingly at will.
They helped stake the Cats to a 32-26 halftime lead.
“We have a lot of work to do,” North coach Jeff Blough said. “We gave up way too many offensive rebounds. They are crazy big and crazy athletic. In the first half, that hurt us a lot.”
Southmoore began the third period on a 7-1 run behind Hannah. The 6-0 junior began to assert herself in the post and the Timberwolves had no answer for her length or touch around the basket.
North’s backcourt of Haley Woodward and Bri Kuestersteffen was ineffective much of the night. But in the fourth Kuestersteffen and Tia Williams led the T-Wolves on a run to get within six points with 1:30 left.
But that would be as close as the Timberwolves would get. Despite numerous chances, North just couldn’t knock down the shots it needed late in the game.
“We got back in the game there, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.” Blough said. “Southmoore is amazing. Wouldn’t surprise me if they won the whole thing.”
Hawkins led all scorers with 18 points. That includes knocking down 6-of-8 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. Hannah added 15 and Alyssa Jones scored 10. As a team, the Cats collected 13 offensive rebounds.
“Overall, we didn’t play our best basketball,” Southmoore coach Britney Kannady-Sayes said. “But I’m impressed with the heart and the team effort we had. It’s definitely what got this win tonight.”
Norman North boys 48, Southmoore 46: The SaberCats came out of the gate running. They got out on fastbreak opportunites whenever they had a chance. That included Darius Hodge going coast to coast for a thunderous slam dunk to help Southmoore take a 23-10 first quarter lead.
However, the Timberwolves didn’t rattle. They stayed calmed and slowly crept back into the contest. Lindy Waters and Marcus Dickinson led the charge as they combined for 19 points in the second quarter.
North led 33-32 at halftime.
With 2:25 left in the game, Justin Bean put the SaberCats up 46-43 with a basket in the paint. But the Timberwolves hit on 3-of-4 free throws to tie the game at 46-46.
The Cats’ Darius Hodge missed a pair of free throws and North got the ball back with 2:02 left. The T-Wolves ran the clock down to 32 second left when Waters drove into the lane and passed off to Payton Prince for a tough layup in traffic that put the Timberwolves up 48-46.
Southmoore unbounded the ball to Preston Smith. He dribbled up to the top of the key and took a 3-pointer. But it was off the mark. Prince got the rebound and was fouled. However, he missed both free throws, giving the Cats one last chance to send the game into overtime.
Southmoore’s Chelvin Webb drove the court and heaved up a 3-pointer that banged off the backboard.
Waters led all scorers with 18. Dickinson added 17 points.
Bean led the SaberCats with 17 points. Brandon Mosby chipped in with 9.
Moore boys 69, No. 3 Del City 65
The Lions flew out to a 40-28 halftime lead and held off the surging Eagles in the second half.
Jaylin Wilson posted 23 points for Moore, who have now won three games in a row. The Lions and SaberCats face-off Friday in a make up game.
No. 3 Midwest City boys 71, No. 19 Westmoore 51
The Jaguars suffered their first defeat of the season against the seventh ranked Bombers.
Tripp Fuller had 13 points in a losing effort.
Moore girls 63, No. 10 Del City 45
The Lady Lions led Del City by seven heading into the fourth quarter. But they used a 16-5 run to blow the lady Eagles away in the final period.
Amanda Patterson led the charge with 22 points as Moore earned its second victory of the season.
No. 6 Midwest city girls 55, No. 18 Westmoore 49
The Lady Jaguars were outscored in each quarter by the Lady Bombers until the fourth quarter. Even though Westmoore outscored MWC 15-11 in the final period, but it wasn't enough to earn the win.
Ashley Gomez paced Westmoore with 21 points. Callie Palmer added 10.