By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
SKIATOOK — Kayla Tucker wanted a storybook ending for Southmoore. One in which the SaberCats raised the state championship gold ball in front of all their fans and disbelievers.
Unfortunately, for the ’Cats, that wasn’t how the book ended. A nightmare barrage of turnovers and mistakes led to a 59-48 loss to Booker T. Washington on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A tournament at the Skiatook Activities Center.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Tucker said. “My senior year ending like this. Wanted to give a better run at it, but it happened and just have to move on from it.”
Southmoore ends its season with a 21-6 record — 10 games better than last year. But it was the disarray they played with at times in the finale that was on the team’s mind. That included the more than 20 turnovers they compiled.
“Obviously we lost the ball game and the turnovers were the key to the ball game,” Southmoore coach Britney Kannady-Sayes said. “That was the difference. I think we got a little winded and we let one turnover turn into two or three. That’s been our problem all season, letting one mistake turn into multiples.”
Washington’s Kaylan Mayberry led all scorers with 20. Makenzie Ellis added 14.
Serithia Hawkins led Southmoore with 17 points and 15 rebounds. But she was held to three points in the second half. Kyra Gilbert added 13 and Kyeria Hannah chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds. Tucker was held to 3 points in her final game.
“I have to give credit to Mayberry on that one,” Hornets coach Annette Kennedy said. “I think she had her rattled from the get-go. When you are spending all your time worrying about whether you can dribble or not, it’s hard to think about shooting.”
In the first four minutes it had thrown the ball away six times, many times under light pressure.
Despite that, the ’Cats only trailed the Hornets 15-14 heading into the second period. Hawkins, the 6-foot-1 sophomore, kept them in the game as she poured in 7 points in the period.
“She did what she has done all year for us,” Sayes said of Hawkins. “She put us on her back.”
Washington continued to press and forced turnovers each time the ’Cats attempted a fastbreak. Yet, the Hornets were unable to take advantage on the scoreboard. The game was tied at 30-30 heading into halftime.
Southmoore slowed the pace down in the third quarter and dumped the ball into the paint. It was Hannah’s turn to take over as she displayed her passing ability when she wasn’t putting the ball through the hoop.
The ’Cats stormed in front 40-34 with 3:36 left in the third and seemed to have control of the game.
But with five minutes left in the game and carrying a two-point advantage, the Hornets began to outwork the SaberCats for loose balls and rebounds. The ’Cats offense became frantic and they began to miss easy layups as the Hornets’ lead grew to eight.
As Southmoore’s turnovers grew, so did the Hornet’s lead. The ’Cats were unable to mount a comeback and saw their season come to an end.
"It comes back to turnovers and missing shots and we let that get in our head," Sayes said. "You have to be mentally strong at this point in the season because everybody is going to miss shots and have turnovers. We weren't able to do that tonight."
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