YUKON — In early February, Southmoore’s fortunes took a drastic turn when star forward Serithia Hawkins chipped a bone in her elbow and had to miss 11 games. The team went into a tailspin and lost nine of the contests she sat out.
Hawkins returned right before the playoffs and it looked like the SaberCats were returning to early season form as they prepared to take on Midwest City in the area tournament and a state berth on the line.
But that all changed two minutes into the contest when Hawkins fought for a loose ball and fell on the same elbow. She ran off the court screaming in pain and would not return.
The Bombers won 55-51 at Yukon High to advance to the state tournament. The SaberCats season came to a sudden end.
“I think we gave our all with circumstances that were given to us,” senior Cyndi Campbell said. “I knew that my high school basketball career would come to an end, but I wanted it to end in state with my team. That’s what I’m upset about right now.”
Unlike when Hawkins was injured earlier in the year, the SaberCats didn’t fall apart right away. They found themselves still in the game deep into the fourth quarter.
With 4:30 left Kiera Hannah connected on a jumper to close deficit to 50-49. Momentum was on the SaberCats’ side and they looked like they were on the verge of pulling off the upset.
But Southmoore’s offense became frazzled after a pair of starters fouled out. That included guard Jamia Sheppard. Despite locking down the Bombers, the ’Cats scored only two points the rest of the game. It’s something coach Britney Kannady-Sayes knows may have been different if they had stayed at full strength.
“It’s tough,” Southmoore coach Britney Kannady-Sayes said. “You go in there and cry with your kids. You tell them how proud you are of them. You pick them up off the floor. You take them home and they learn from it.”