LOMETA — After the game, Mikhaila Barnett was moved to tears.
It had little to do with the outcome, though. Instead, she was emotional over the effort.
The junior point guard dominated offensively, finishing with a game-high 26 points as Lometa defeated Evant 41-37 on Tuesday.
Barnett scored all but one of the Lady Hornets’ fourth-quarter points, including a late go-ahead basket and a victory-clinching putback after snagging an offensive rebound.
The performance left Barnett fighting back tears.
“When you want something so badly, nothing matters,” she said. “On the inside, you know that if you want it that badly then you know you can work hard enough for yourself, as well as your team. Success will come with hard work.”
With four freshmen starting, the Lady Hornets got off to a slow start, falling into an immediate 8-0 hole before scoring their first point of the game with 2:33 remaining in the opening quarter. Lometa’s first field goal did not fall until less than two minutes remained on the clock.
Nevertheless, the Lady Hornets (5-12, 2-1 District 28-1A, DII) continued attacking.
Barnett recorded a pair of quick baskets before the end of the first quarter, and Evant held a slim 8-6 advantage entering the second quarter.
“In the first quarter, we struggled with the freshmen trying to get the jitters out,” Lometa head coach Marcus Chapa said. “Once they settled down, we were able to see the court.”
Then, Barnett began to find her offensive rhythm, accounting for seven of Lometa’s 11 points in the second quarter, and the Lady Hornets entered halftime leading 17-15.
Evant opened the third quarter by scoring six unanswered points to build a four-point lead, 21-17, but despite Barnett going scoreless in the period, the teams went into the fourth quarter tied 25-25.
Behind Barnett’s scoring the Lady Hornets created a five-point cushion at 34-29 with less than three minutes remaining in the game, but the lead was not safe as the Lady Elks recaptured a slim advantage, 37-36, with 45 seconds left.
It was not enough.
Barnett’s jumper with 28 seconds remaining put Lometa back on top before Angela Arellano’s free throw created a two-point lead. The sophomore wing missed her second attempt, but Barnett was there, scooping up her team-high eleventh rebound and scoring the final points of the game.
While her performance shined, Barnett did not think she played an overly impressive game. She simply believed she would not be denied.
“I don’t feel like it was all about me,” she said. “I just wanted it.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org