Thanks to a furious full-court press, the visiting Temple Tem-Cats had cut a fourth-quarter Shoemaker seven-point lead down to one. There was 4:38 left on the clock. Shoemaker had the ball out of bounds at half-court.
Shoemaker 5-foot-5 starting guard Daysha Roberts was guarded well. So Roberts darted backwards, then forward, left then right, and raised her hand.
“I was thinking that we have to score here,” said Roberts postgame. “We were only up by one point and I needed to help us expand that lead immediately. I just wanted to score one for the team.”
Roberts took the inbounds pass near half-court. She gave a nifty move and shook a defender at the top of the key. The paint was packed with Tem-Cats.
Roberts was 16 feet away from the bucket.
“Once I dribbled past the one girl,” said Roberts, “I saw I was wide open so I decided to just stop-and-pop. It felt great leaving my hands. It felt even better when it went into the net.”
Robert’s hoop expanded the Lady Grey Wolves lead to 43-40.
“It was a very big shot for us,” said senior teammate Ashley Lemons. “I was amazed how confident she was. We needed that shot. It gave us the boost we needed.”
From there, Shoemaker never looked back. The Lady Grey Wolves went on a 10-4 run to close the contest and leave General Shoemaker Court with a 53-44 win in both teams’ District 8-5A season opener.
Of Robert’s clutch shot, Shoemaker assistant coach Steve Mattox said, “We had just put Daysha back in the game for that exact purpose — get as close to the rack as possible and score. We wanted her to take that shot there. It was the perfect time for a senior to step up for us and that’s what Daysha did. It was a clutch shot.”
Temple led 9-7 after one quarter and the score was knotted at 22 by the halftime break.
Shoemaker (3-6) led 36-31 after three quarters and 40-33 with 6:34 left in the game.
Temple’s full-court press, led by Jazzmen Ortiz, Taija Hall, Deja Williams, Tyesha Taylor and Natane Haywood, cut that lead down to one in less than two minutes.
“I think we did a lot of good things in this game tonight,” said Ortiz who had a game-high 12 points. “We didn’t give up. We did a lot of bad things, too, and I think that was due to the jitters — this being our first district game. Shoemaker is a good team but I think we’ll come back strong from this loss.”
Williams scored nine points, Hall six and Haywood five. Also for Temple (2-7), Taylor scored five points and Lexi Garcia had four.
For Shoemaker, Roberts and Lemons shared team-high scoring honors with 10 points apiece. Also for the Lady Grey Wolves, Mikayla Gatewood and Jicara Quinn each scored seven points, and Yeritza Valentin and Reshaya Parker each had four.
“I’m so proud of our whole team,” said Roberts. “We’re excited about this win.”
“This win will bring up our confidence,” added Lemons. “We don’t care about the preseason. We wanted to be 1-and-0 in district and now we are. I think we can make the playoffs if we keep playing like we did tonight.”
“We gave a great effort and our girls played hard,” said Temple head coach Tamarah Sanders. “It’s always hard to beat a team at their home. I see improvements in their team this year. Do I think we got outplayed or outhustled? No. We played as hard as we could have. We left it all on the court — and that’s all you can ask of your team.”
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566