Jumani Thomas could have been forgiven for thinking it was a mirage, at first. An open lane to the rim? On this night?
But there it was, tumbleweeds all but blowing through it, and so there she went. And not long thereafter Friday night, up the ladder she went, carefully snipping a strand of nylon as she and her South Side teammates celebrated a 41-39 victory over Bishop Luers in the championship game of the girls SAC basketball tournament.
Thomas’ basket with 10 seconds showing was the final salvo on a night when made buckets were a precious commodity, particularly, but not solely, if you were Bishop Luers. The Knights bolted to a 12-3 lead in the first six minutes, but spent the rest of the night watching all manner of makeable shots go wanting, shooting 15 of 56 overall and a fruitless 5 of 29 in the second half, when Luers managed just 13 points.
That opened the door for a South Side club that struggled nearly as badly, managing just two field goals across period of almost 10 minutes that spanned the last 2:45 of the second quarter and the first seven minutes of the third.
“We just weren’t that effective at the offensive end tonight,” South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said. “Defense is what won it tonight, and both sides played a heck of a game."
For more on this story see Saturday's Journal Gazette or go to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.