Lady Sharks thrive in Drummond tourney

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By Sean Arnold

Cedar Key got just about everything it could ask for in the Drummond Bank CKS Beach Ball Holiday Tournament Dec. 19 and Dec. 20.

Seven of the nine games in the six-team tourney were decided by five points or less, with multiple even going into overtime.

And the Lady Sharks (4-7) advanced to the championship game, where they eventually fell 34-32 in a closely-fought final.

In its tournament opener Dec. 19, Cedar Key launched a fourth-quarter comeback with 16 points in the final frame to defeat Fort White 46-43. Junior Jasmin Jackson led the Lady Sharks with 21 points, followed by 10 points from Hannah Brinkman, and eight from eighth-grader Makalynn Bowling. Cassie Lozier nabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, while Bowling snatched four steals. Jackson, who had four assists and three steals, went 5 for 9 at the foul line. Freshman Rylee Smith added seven boards to help in CKS’ edge in rebounding.

The Lady Sharks came back later in the day for another back-and-forth fight against Keystone Heights, ultimately prevailing 32-28 behind 22 points from Jackson. Smith led with six boards and five steals, while Lozier and Bowling had three steals apiece.

CKS trailed 16-15 at the break, but had a two-point advantage by the end of the third.

In their finale against The Rock of Gainesville Dec. 20, the Lady Sharks trailed as much as 29-17 in the third, following a 3-pointer by the Lions with 2:45 remaining in the period. Bowling splashed a nothing-but-net 3-pointer shortly thereafter and connected on long 2 later in the period, helping narrow the deficit to 29-24 heading into the fourth.

A catch-and-shoot bucket from senior Mackenzie Kirkbride and a bank shot from Smith helped keep Cedar Key within striking distance before a busy final minute of play. Jackson hit back-to-back layups to make it a one-point game, but the Lady Sharks couldn’t take advantage of late free throw opportunities and a couple of steals by Bowling and Jackson.

CKS finished runner-ups in the tournament.

Jackson finished with 10 points, while Bowling (four steals) chipped in seven points, and Lozier, who led with 10 rebounds, had six points.

Cedar Key’s defense kept the squad in the game while the team went through long shooting droughts, including a 5-minute span in the second quarter that was finally snapped by a Lozier basket.

The Chiefland girls lost in overtime to the Rock, 49-48, then defeated Branford 49-44, before losing to Keystone Heights in overtime 33-30.

Cedar Key next plays host to Chiefland Jan. 2. The Lady Sharks are then at Bell Jan. 4, and return home to face Bronson Jan. 5.