By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Southmoore entered this past weekend undefeated and ranked No. 3 in class 6A. They came out of it with two defeats and without one of its best players.
The SaberCats lost forward Serithia Hawkins with an injury to her elbow during the semifinals of Putnam City Invitational Friday. According to coach Britney Kannady-Sayes, Hawkins will miss somewhere between three to six weeks.
“She basically has chipped the bone that curves around her elbow, the ball and socket joint,” Kannady-Sayes said. “It kind of helps hold the elbow in place.”
Kannady-Sayes said typically doctors can go in and surgically and fix it and recovery would take four to six weeks.
Hawkins was considering having the surgery. But she decided to let the injury heal on its own. Best case scenario for the Cats, she will return right after the John Nobles Invitational in three weeks. At worst, Hawkins wouldn’t be back on the court until right before the postseason.
“We expect her back at some point,” Kannady-Sayes said. “And she is the type who is going to do all she can do as far as taking care of herself, taking care of her body. And doing the physical therapy that we are looking at hopefully the best-case scenario.”
The injury took place in the first three minutes of the SaberCats’ semifinal game against No. 9 Bartlesville. Southmoore (8-2) held a 6-2 lead when Hawkins went down.
“A girl pushed me and I fell down on my arm. That’s when the bone moved out of place,” Hawkins said. “I knew it was serious by the way I got up and ran out. I was in a lot of pain at that time.”
Southmoore wound up losing to Bartlesville and in the third place game to Putnam City Saturday for the team’s first losses of the season. Kannady-Sayes said the team’s heart just wasn’t in the game as they worried about Hawkins, who had to be taken to the hospital.
“They are high school girls,” Kannady-Sayes said. “It hit hard. They wanted to leave the Bartlesville game and go with their sister to the hospital. That’s what I kept hearing. As a coach, you’re proud that they are kind of getting the family concept that we’re trying to get toward here. But at the same time, as a coach, you’re telling the girls we have one more ball game in less than 24 hours. They didn’t care about that game. Their heart was with her and not worried about beating Putnam City.”
Hawkins was averaging almost 19 points a game to go along with 15 rebounds, 3.25 assists, 3.1 steals and 1.25 blocks.
The junior post also shot 56.5 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line.
It’s going to take several people to replace what Hawkins brought to the table. While Kannady-Sayes said the whole team must increase production, the brunt of the burden falls to Kyeria Hanna, Jamia Shepard and Deasha Page.
“Obviously everyone on our team needs to step up,” Kannady-Sayes said. “She was our leading scorer, our leading rebounder. She usually guarded the other team’s best overall player, if not their best inside player. So everybody has to step up and come up with the points, coming up with the free throws. I think we all need to rally around and just do a little bit more until we get her back.”
Hawkins said she has faith her teammates can hold on until she gets back.
“I know that the team will play real hard and go without me,” Hawkins said. “I want to get back out there fast to play with them again. This is the first major injury of my career.”
Starting with Edmond Memorial tonight, the SaberCats have a string of Mid-State Conference games on the horizon. That includes Norman on Friday, Del City on Jan. 21, No. 8 Midwest City on Jan. 31 and Moore on Feb. 4. Hawkins could be back in time to face the Bombers.
Until then, Kannady-Sayes said her team needs to get over the mental hurdle of not having Hawkins on the court.
“We can do it as quickly as (today). Or we may not. It’s going to be a mental game. This may end up in the long run making us better and stronger. It’s a very big opportunity. It’s a very big lesson for our team to not take those minutes for granted.”
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