Alexa Shoemaker’s buzzer beater lifts Keyser over Hampshire 40-39

Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
Keyser's Alexa Shoemaker drives hard to the basket.  Shoemaker led Keyser with 13 points and hit a three pointer at the buzzer to win the game for the Lady Tornado.

Picture this. There are 12.3 seconds remaining on the fourth period clock and Keyser trails Hampshire by two points, 39-37.  Keyser is inbounding the ball under Hampshire’s basket.  Rebekah Biser rolls the ball to Alexa Shoemaker, who picks it up and crosses midcourt with the ball.  

Shoemaker dribbles from left to right four times and passes the ball back to Biser who is moving right to left from the top of the key.  Biser dribbles twice with her left hand then passes the ball to Summer Reid, who is moving left to right. Reid takes two dribbles and from the top of the key passes the ball to the right side to Alexa Shoemaker, who is standing just outside the three-point line, just in front of the Keyser bench.

That’s when the magic happened. Shoemaker delivered a three-point strike at the last possible second that was nothing but net, giving the Golden Tornado a 40-39 victory as time expired.

40-39 - sound familiar?  If so, it’s because it’s the exact same score in which Hampshire defeated Keyser earlier in the season at Sunrise Summit. What better time to avenge that earlier loss than on Senior Night, with Keyser honoring seniors Kaili Crowl and Ricki Ferrell?

It was Senior Night at Keyser on Monday.  Pictured are seniors Kaili Crowl (30) and Ricki Ferrell (44).

There’s something also to be said for it being a big win for Keyser in their section.

“I thought the last three possessions we really executed what we wanted to do. I’m glad that we had timeouts left in our pocket so we could get things that we wanted to get accomplished. They did a great job on the floor executing on the last three trips,” Keyser coach Josh Blowe stated.

According to Blowe, “Alexa made a nice slash to the basket on the cut and made a layup. We got into our pressure. Then Kaili (Crowl) came back down and ran something similar, we had her on the second option, she did a great job. Then the last shot, that was a nice drive and kick-out to Alexa who is shooting fifty percent from three-point range on the season.”

Blowe was asked if Shoemaker was tabbed as the shooter all along?

“No, she was like the third option. They had their best defender on Kaili. We were going to try to get to the rim, but they did a good job collapsing and we did a great job kicking it out, which we haven’t been doing a good job with that all season. So, it was awesome seeing us getting a result on that kick-out and a nice shot,” Blowe explained.  

Overall, Blowe was pleased with the execution of his offense and his defense, still a battle at times, however, is getting the ball into the net.

“The execution on offense was good.  We couldn’t finish, that’s where we’re struggling. We get to the rim, we can’t make layups. We were in great position, and if we don’t make the layup, we get fouled. We’ve got to make more free throws, like, at the end, we were zero for our last four at the line,” Blowe stated.

According to Blowe, “There’s just little things like that which will make us so much better. I asked them in the locker room just now, ‘how good do you want to be?’ We’ve got to put the ball in the basket. I’m happy with the win, we really needed that as a team. I think our confidence going forward is going to be great. But, we’ve got to start doing the things we need to do to be an elite team. I think we can get there, but we’ve got to start putting the ball in the basket, doing the easy things.”

Keyser opened the game red hot and jumped out to a 10-2 lead.  Hampshire, however, would close the first period on a 9-0 run to take a slim, one-point, 11-10 lead at the end of the first period. From that point forward, the game would stay close like that throughout the entirety of the matchup.

Hampshire would edge Keyser in scoring 11-9 in the second period to take a slim, three-point, 22-19 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.

Keyser would edge Hampshire in scoring in the third frame by a tally of 10-8, enough to cut the Hampshire lead to just one point, 30-29, entering the final period of play.

With exactly one minute remaining in the final period, Hampshire clung to a two-point, 35-33 lead. They would bump that lead to four points, 37-33, with 53.6 seconds remaining.  Ten seconds later, Alexa Shoemaker’s layup off the right side would trim that lead to two points, 37-35.

On the ensuing possession, Keyser’s defense forced Hampshire into a 10-second violation as the Lady Trojans failed to get the ball past half-court in time with 28.4 seconds remaining on the game clock. Summer Reid would find Kaili Crowl under the basket who made the shot with 12.3 seconds remaining that tied the game at 37-37.

Hampshire, however, was fouled immediately upon inbounding the ball, went to the line, and made two free throws to take the two-point, 39-37 lead with 12.3 seconds still remaining.

The rest is history, as Keyser’s Alexa Shoemaker would hit the three-pointer at the buzzer to elevated the Lady Tornado to the 40-39 victory.

In the victory, it would be Shoemaker who led Keyser in double figures with 13 points.  Kaili Crowl, playing on her own Senior Night, was next in double figures with 11 points.  Next came Maddy Broadwater with eight points, Maddie Harvey tallied four points, and Rebekah Biser and Aly Smith two points apiece.

In the loss, Hampshire’s Gracie Fields led all scorers with 14 points, and was followed by Ellen Keaton with seven points, Jadyn Judy with six points, and Hanna Ault with five points.  Liz Pryor added three points, and Lainee Selon and Izzy Blomquist two points apiece.

Hampshire won the junior varsity contest, another relative thriller, by a score of 38-35. The junior Tornado actually held a 7-2 advantage at the end of the first period. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Keyser still held a 16-11 lead.

Scoring slowed for the Junior Tornado in the third frame as the Black and Gold only mustered four points. By contrast, Hampshire almost tripled that output with 11 points to take a 22-20 lead at the end of the third period. In the fourth frame, the junior Trojans edged Hampshire in scoring 16-15 to earn the three-point, 38-35 victory.

In the victory, the junior Trojans were led by Jaden Kerns in double figures with 11 points. Juellah Heatwole was next with eight points.  Hailee Jenkins followed with seven points as the three accounted for the bulk of the scoring.

In the loss, the junior Tornado were led in double figured by Sydney Taylor with 10 points. Charity Wolfe was next with eight points. Alyvia Idleman added seven points, and Morgan Pratt six points as the four accounted for the bulk of the scoring.

Keyser (5-5) will next host Moorefield on Thursday with the varsity action tipping off at 7:30 p.m.

“It was awesome to see us play that well, especially late in the game.  But, we talked about it being Senior Night, and getting it done for Kaili, she’s been a four year member of this team and put in a lot of hard work and blood sweat and tears into this program.  It was so awesome to see us win tonight on Senior Night, for her and Ricki as well,” Blowe explained.