By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
Serithia Hawkins is quiet. Whether she is on the court or off, the Southmoore forward doesn’t seem to say much.
However, when Hawkins is on the court, her play can speak volumes. That included Thursday night when she led the fourth-ranked SaberCats to a 68-46 win over Lawton in the first round of the John Noble Invitational Tournament at Moore High.
Hawkins ended the night with 12 points and 15 boards as she decimated the Wolverines’ front line with her work on the boards.
“Rebounding is very big,” Hawkins said. “We normally score off rebounds and putbacks. It helps us speed up the tempo of the game.”
As a team, the SaberCats out-rebounded the Wolverines 39-27. Coach Britney Kannady-Sayes knows how important controlling the backboards are to her team’s success.
“Rebounding is key for us,” Kannady-Sayes said. “Especially since we are kind of in a shooting slump from the other the night. I think we got out of it and I told my kids to rebound until we score. We get a lot of points from that so we are going to continue to do that.”
Southmoore didn’t give Lawton a chance to breathe when the game started. Cyndia Campbell and Kayla Tucker pressured the LHS backcourt and forced them into multiple turnovers. The Cats turned those miscues into easy fast break points and took a 19-4 advantage in the first quarter.
As they normally do, the SaberCats used their inside game to pound the Wolverines. Kyeria Hannah and Hawkins were able to get any shot they wanted within five feet of the basket and Lawton was unable to do anything about it.
Southmoore strolled into halftime with a 37-22 lead. The Cats pulled away in the third and coasted in for the win.
Tucker led all scorers with 15 points. Campbell added 13.
Dottie Henning and Monique Jackson paced Lawton with 10 points each.
Southmoore will face No. 15 Choctaw at 7 p.m. tonight in the semifinals of the JNIT. With a victory, it will make it's third consecutive tournament championship game this season. But it has yet to claim a title.
"We been to the championship each tournament we have been in," Tucker said. "We just have to keep playing well, get the win tomorrow and get the win Saturday."
Muskogee 71, Moore 38: The Lions held a 7-4 lead in the first quarter. The Roughers ran off 20 unanswered points to end the period and take a 27-7 advantage, MHS was unable to recover.
Moore tried to make Muskogee work, but Kelsey McClure was too much for them. The Oral Roberts University commit scored 15 points in the win.
Amanda Patterson posted 14 points, all in the first half, for the Lions.
"I think we played good as a team," Patterson said. "We worked the ball around. We got open looks. We didn't always hit the shot, but we are getting there."
Eisenhower 42, Ponca City 32: The Lady Cats had no answers for the Eagles’ Crystal Polk. The sophomore forward had her way in the paint from the opening minute. She racked up 19 points in the process. Briana Underwood added 6 for the Eagles.
Kendall Dunn led Ponca City with 12 points.
Choctaw 65, Tahlequah 60: Tahlequah trailed 17-4 early in the contest. It looked like Choctaw was on its way to a blowout.
However, the Lady Tigers stormed back in the second quarter with hot 3-point shooting a defense. Choctaw led 31-28 at halftime.
With five seconds left and the game tied, Choctaw turned the ball over, giving the Tigers the final shot. However, they couldn’t get a shot off and the contest went into a second overtime.
Sadie Marino led all scorers with 19 for the Yellowjackets. Whitney Wright paced the Tigers with 13. Hadley added 8 in the loss.
Boys — Moore 78, Tahlequah 52: The Lions jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter before the Tigers clawed back into the game and only trailed 33-28 at halftime.
But MHS picked up its defense in the second half and shut down the Tigers. Tahlequah was outscored 28-12 in the third quarter alone.
“We played good in the first half, but in the second half we picked it up a lot,” Moore’s Dante Butler said. “Our defense was way better.”
Butler led all scorers with 15. Dorian Gigger added 12 and Maurice Davenport scored 10. Dalton Cunningham posted 14 points for the Tigers in the loss.
Capitol Hill 49, Southmoore 43: After trailing by 12 late in the third quarter and going through a 10 minute scoring drought, the SaberCats fought their way back into the game. When Preston Smith drained a 3-pointer with less than a minute on the clock, they trailed the Redskins by a single point. It was his fourth try of the period.
However, Capitol Hill made its free throws and Southmoore turned the ball over on consecutive possessions at the end of the game to end any hopes of a comeback.
Aaron Brown had a team high 9 points for the ’Skins. Smith ended the night with 12 points, all from behind the arc.
Bishop McGuiness 68, NW Classen 49: The Fighting Irish connected on 10 3-pointers on the way to beating the Knights. Luis Lopez had four from behind the arc as he scored 15 points. David Love led all scorers with 22.
Eric McGee led NW Classen with 13 points.
The Irish will face the Redskins at 5:30 p.m. today in the first boys semifinal. Lawton High will take on Moore at 8:30 p.m. in the nightcap.