WEATHERFORD — So many times during her career as a three-year starter, Quamese Moss has made a big play on the defensive end in the closing minutes of games or hit a game-winning shot.
But in her final high school basketball game on Friday night, Moss was relegated to sitting on the bench for the final 2:40 of the game after fouling out and forced to watch as Guyer fell to Cleburne 62-60 in the Class 4A Region I area round.
Moss tied for the team lead with 13 points in the game but was missed tremendously down the stretch on the defensive end as she entered the game averaging 3.2 steals per game.
“It hurt probably more defensively than anything down the stretch,” Guyer head coach Harold Colson said. “We did an OK job of taking care of the ball and scoring offensively, we just really missed her defensive presence. The last two or three times they scored, they started at the perimeter and got to the basket. Her being there would’ve really helped that.”
Guyer (23-6) fell just short of advancing to the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history after leading by eight points at the half.
Cleburne (25-7) came out in the second half in a zone after playing most of the first half in a man defense, and Colson said it threw his team off a bit after scoring 36 first-half points, well above their average first-half output.
“When they switched to zone it threw us for a loop a little bit,” Colson said. “We just got into a little lull where we were passing the ball and not being as aggressive as we needed to be. The third quarter really hurt us. That’s really where we lost the game. We had the lead and then got a little passive for four or five minutes, and they ran up 16 points on us.”
The Lady Jackets were led by hot-shooting guard Courtney Jeffcoat, who scored a game-high 29 points, including six 3-pointers.
“Early on, she was hitting wide-open shots, and I remember three or four times we had a hand in her face and she just knocked it down,” Colson said. “She’s a good shooter. She made some really tough shots. She gets all the credit for stepping up and hitting big-time shots like that.”
Cleburne took its first lead since the first quarter with 5:03 to play in the game on a layup from Jeffcoat and extended the lead to six points with under four minutes to play before Guyer rallied.
Consecutive 3-pointers from freshman Lauren Heard and Jada Calloway tied the game with 2:50 to play, but Calloway fouled out on the ensuing Cleburne possession.
Heard’s free throw gave Guyer a 60-58 lead with 39 seconds remaining, but Cleburne point guard Bria McCullough drove the length of the floor for a game-tying layup with 30 seconds left and then got a steal and another layup with six seconds to play for the win.
Heard finished with 12 points, while Calloway scored 13 before fouling out. Sophomore post Bre Wickware had eight points and 10 rebounds.
With only four seniors, Colson has a lot of players returning, including Heard and Wickware, two of Guyer’s top three scorers.
“It’s a good place to be in right now as far as what’s coming back,” Colson said. “Us going to 6A will be a challenge, but we have a solid foundation. We have one of the better freshman classes that we’ve had in a long time. We’re set up to do some good things over the next few years.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Cleburne 62, Guyer 60
Cleburne (25-7) — Bria McCullough 16, Jasline Chandler 4, Akarian Morgan 7, Courtney Jeffcoat 29, Jazlin Jones 6.
Guyer (23-6) — Madi Franklin 2, Quamese Moss 13, Ola Akinniyi 8, Lauren Heard 12, Bre Wickware 8, Jada Calloway 13, Sarah Mack 4.