MOORE — When No. 4 Southmoore and No. 6 Muskogee faced off Saturday, it was more than a battle of Top-10 teams. With the SaberCats’ Kayla Tucker and the Roughers’ Alexus Wilson being cousins, there were family bragging rights on the line.
Tucker had a chance late in the game to secure both, but Muskogee held on to win 65-62 in the championship game of the John Nobles Invitational Tournament on Saturday at Moore High.
Wilson, who has signed with Oral Roberts University, ended the night with a spot on the All-Tournament team. But it was the prospect of having something to hold over her cousin’s head that put the biggest smile on her face.
“That’s even greater, Wilson said. “It makes it that much sweeter. We are going to be texting about this one.”
Yet, the SaberCats still had their chances.
With 2:32 left in the game, Southmoore’s Kyeria Hannah cut the Roughers’ lead to three points. But Kelsey McClure came back and drained a 3-pointer. Serithia Hawkins answered with a tough basket in the paint and Muskogee led 63-59 with 1:49 on the clock.
Twice the SaberCats had chances to cut the deficit to a single basket, but Kyra Gilbert and Tucker each missed layups. After Aaliyah Wilson knocked in a pair of free throws, Tucker connected for a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left.
The ’Cats got the ball back and Hawkins went to the charity stripe and missed both free throws, but Southmoore got the rebound and called a time-out.
With five seconds left and trailing by three, Southmoore got the ball to Tucker. She dribbled left looking for an open shot. But the Roughers’ defense swarmed the senior and she was unable to get off a clean look as the buzzer sounded.
“I was trying to get a screen and get an open shot,” Tucker said. “But we just didn’t get to execute our last play at the end. It happens. We tried to get the win and it just didn’t happen for us.”