The secret to motivating your team to win a second championship in a week for Eastside coach Kyle Cannon was offering his team a Mexican dinner and skating party if they won Friday night. Sarah Kate Winfree must like Mexican food and skating because she scored 35 points, 71% of her team’s points as Eastside beat Hickory Creek 49-29 to win the county 5-6 grade championship.
Hickory Creek came into the game as the undisputed and unbeaten champion of District 1. It was a frustrating night for the Lady Hawks who could not stop Sarah Kate Winfree. The first quarter was close with Eastside leading only by a point, 9-8. By halftime, Eastside had increased that lead to 15 points, 27-12.
During the regular season and tournament, Hickory Creek was accustomed to having a big lead at halftime. In the second half, Hickory Creek saw what they normally did to teams as Eastside did not let up in the third quarter. Eastside outscored Hickory Creek by 14 points in the third quarter to take a commanding 41-18 lead. The only thing that slowed down Sarah Kate Winfree was receiving four fouls, which caused her to not be as aggressive in the fourth quarter.
Kinsley Simpson, Sarah Kate Winfree’s cousin, led Hickory Creek in scoring with 14 points. Hickory Creek only has up to the fifth grade, and Eastside has sixth-graders. Clearly, Hickory Creek would have had a different game plan if Eastside only had up to fifth-graders; Sarah Kate Winfree is a sixth-grader. The only team in District 1 which had sixth-graders is Irving College. All four teams in District 2 have sixth-graders on their teams.
Hickory Creek beat Irving College Tuesday night in the District 1 Championship, and Eastside beat Centertown in the District 2 Championship. Friday night was a battle of District Champions.
GIRLS EASTSIDE 49 HICKORY CREEK 29 EASTSIDE Sarah Kate Winfree 35, Zoi Radney 8, Avery Bolding 6 HICKORY CREEK Kinsley Simpson 14, Maelee Turner 6, Sloan Youngblood 4, Harper Patrick 2, Adasha Haswell 2, Izzy Geesling 1 HEAD COACH COMMENTS
Coach Kyle Cannon said, “We bribed them with Mexican and a skating party if they won tonight. Centertown had seen us a play two to three times, and they knew what we were going to do. Centertown had more chances to practice and prepare for us. Hickory Creek had not seen us, and we had not seen them play. We had good team defense tonight. Tonight, everyone did their job. Every player contributed. Sarah Kate did a good job distributing the ball.”
Cannon talked briefly about Sarah Kate Winfree, “Sarah Kate’s basketball IQ is further along than most sixth graders. She has a good knowledge of the game, she sees the floor well. She is very unselfish. She makes more effort and puts more work in on defense and making rebounds. She has a burst of speed. She is strong and finishes well at the rim.”
Coach Cannon was asked to compare Sarah Kate to her sister Sable Winfree when Sable was in the sixth grade. Cannon responded, “Sarah Kate is a better scorer at this age than Sable was at this age. Sable scored 20-25 points once she got into the seventh and eighth grades. Sable had more speed at this age, and a little quicker defense. Sarah is a better finisher and scorer at this age.”
Avery Bolding was asked how winning two championships in a week felt. She said, “It feels pretty good. Tonight we had to play better defense. We fixed things over the practices (this week). We tried our hardest. Sarah did really well tonight, and I am really proud of her.”
Sarah Kate Winfree was asked if playing two championship games in a week was tough. She said, “It was really tough. Winning tonight was more exciting than winning Tuesday night. Yes, it was one of my best games of the year.”