By GREG CREWS
The Guymon Daily Herald
GOODWELL, Okla. — The Goodwell Lady Eagles had no intention of putting their fate in the hands of a freshman, but with the final second preparing to tick off the clock, that's precisely where their fate rested.
Looking for one final shot, Goodwell tried to get the ball to the post, but Mercedes Chavera’s pass to Abbie Gardner was tipped up in the air by defenders, landing right in the arms of Shaylee Kelso, wide open on the right block.
The freshman guard hesitated only a fraction of a second as she tried to make sense of what just happened before tossing up a shot and banking it in just before the buzzer to lift the Lady Eagles to a 36-34 win over the visiting Tyrone Lady Bobcats in their season opener Monday.
“I knew I had to make it for the team,” Kelso said. “I’m just so glad that it went in.”
With 43 seconds remaining, Goodwell trailed the Lady Cats, 34-31. Kelso tied the game with 31 seconds remaining as she drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and the Lady Eagles got the ball back with 10 seconds as a Tyrone pass sailed out of bounds.
“I was telling the girls, you want to win games like that,” Goodwell coach Len Halliburton said. “You want to win those close, gritty games. Those are the games that make you better.”
Junior Shandy Edenborough led Goodwell (1-0) with 13 points and nine rebounds, but for much of the fourth quarter the Lady Eagles were without her as Edenborough picked up her fourth foul with 5:45 remaining and fouled out with 43 seconds left.
“It's scary,” Halliburton said of being without Edenborough. “She’s a tremendous talent and she’s the leader of this team. Luckily we had other girls step up.”
Gardner added nine points and six rebounds for Goodwell, while Chavera had seven points, five rebounds and three steals. Kelso finished with seven points, including the two that broke the Lady Cats hearts.
“It’s very tough (to lose like that). I cried,” Tyrone senior Shayla Cornelson said. “We just weren’t rotated right and we made her look like a superstar.”
Cornelson paced Tyrone with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals, while junior post Trista Jaramillo had six points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Monica Olivas had six points and four rebounds and freshman Alondra Avilez had two points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists.
“I’m really proud of the way the girls fought,” Tyrone coach Tisha Loomis said. “We made some mental errors and put them on the line too much, but we fought hard the whole way.”
Tyrone sprung out to a 6-2 lead to start the game and led 8-6 by the end of the first quarter.
Goodwell took its first lead at 11-10 midway through the second quarter, but the lead was brief and by halftime the Lady Cats were back up 17-15.
The lead changed six times in the third quarter with Goodwell ending the period with a 25-24 lead.
The lead changed three more times in the fourth quarter before the ball dropped in Kelso's hands for the game-winner.
“This win helps us because we know we can do it now,” Kelso said. “Now, we just have to get out and show other teams that we are coming.”