OKLAHOMA CITY — It had been a long time since Southmoore entered the postseason as a favorite. The No. 4 team in 6A was not only supposed to win a single game, but make a run at a state title.
Facing Putnam City West on Thursday in the first round of the regional tournament, the SaberCats showed they are ready to meet the expectations placed upon them as they rolled over the Patriots 61-22 at SMH. However, like most good teams, they still weren’t completely happy with their performance.
“I think we did pretty good,” senior Kyra Gilbert said. “I think we were a little harder on ourselves than we needed to be. We were up by 30 and we were all getting mad at ourselves for messing up.”
The victory pushes the ’Cats (20-4) into the regional championship Saturday, where it will face Edmond Memorial at 1:30 p.m. It also earned them a spot in next week’s area tourney.
The Bulldogs and SaberCats split their only two meets this season. But Edmond won the last matchup last week when they defeated Southmoore 48-47 in overtime on the Cats’ home court. Kayla Tucker envisions a different outcome this time around with the regional title on the line.
“We are all still pretty upset about it,” Tucker said. “We are going after them. They shouldn’t have beat us the first time, we don’t feel like. We want to prove to them that can’t play with us.”
Tucker began the game against the Patriots ready to put in work. The senior guard, who is committed to Alabama State, drained three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. On the third trey, she was fouled and hit the ensuing free throw to put the ’Cats up 19-2.
“I know I need to be a leader on the court and lead by example,” Tucker said. “I knew if I came out strong, they would follow.”
The Patriots were unable to get anything done on the offensive end. Much of that was due to the suffocating defense the SaberCats employed. Cyndi Campbell, Jaimia Shepard and Tucker pressured the PCW backcourt sideline to sideline and wouldn’t allow them to get a clean shot or pass off.
Two weeks ago Southmoore set a program record when it scored 101 points in a win over Moore. For much of the first half, it looked like the Cats would be trying to break their own record.
However, the pace slowed down slightly and Southmoore led 40-8 at halftime.
Southmoore held Putnam City West to three points in the third and closed the game out. The starters sat most of the final period. Twenty-two points is the third fewest the ’Cats have allowed the entire season.
Tucker tallied 12 points, all in the first half. Kyeria Hannah added 12 and Gilbert chipped in with 10.
“The loss to Edmond is just going to fuel us,” Gilbert said. “We just really want that win this time. We just didn’t play very well last time. We know we need to work harder and go on to the state tournament.”
Putnam City 58, Westmoore 50
The Pirates used a 19 point third quarter to distance themselves from the Jaguars, who were unable to make a run in the final period as their season comes to an end.
Freshman Syndey Chastain paced Westmoore with 13 points. Ashley Gomez added 8.
Muskogee 53, Moore 29
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