Lights. Camera. Action!
The national TV cameras were rolling at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in the Burns Arena as California Baptist University outscored Dixie State University in a shootout, 96-85.
In such a high-scoring matchup, Cal Baptist took a 54-44 lead into halftime. CBU made 21 of 32 shots in the first half.
“They spread us out and drove on us and shot 65 percent from the field, and that’s not acceptable,” head coach Catherria Turner said. “We came out and did better in the second half, but we have to be able to put two halves together.”
Saturday’s contest, being the last home game of the season for DSU, meant the Red Storm also honored senior night. The lone senior Haley Holmstead took center stage in the pre-game ceremonies to be honored for her role on the team. Holmstead then took center stage on the court as she took over the offense for the Red Storm in the first half.
Led by an incredible 24-point first-half performance by Holmstead, the Red Storm’s offense relied solely on three stars: sophomore forward Taylor Mann, junior guard Kaylah Miller and Holmstead. The trio accounted for all 44 of DSU’s first-half points.
“It was pretty emotional before the game, knowing it was my last game here at the Burns Arena,” Holmstead said. “It’s been such an amazing season, and I’m so grateful for my coaches and teammates.”
Dixie State’s comeback in the second half was a near miss as DSU pulled within five points, but Dixie could not stop the Lancers long enough before the lead was extended.
Holmstead ended her final home game with 36 points, further solidifying her position as the single season scoring champion in DSU history with 576 points this season, and the playoffs are still forthcoming.
“I just have to take what the defense gives me,” Holmstead said. “If my shot’s there, I’ll take it. I just read what they are doing, and my coach is really good at helping to see what’s open and what shots I should be taking.”
A noticeably louder crowd was on hand in the Burns to support the Storm in their Saturday morning showcase, broadcasted on CBS Sports to a nation-wide audience.
“I think there is a side of me that wanted more (fans),” Turner said. “But the fans that were there were really cheering loud for us, and they were really felt.”
With so much attention on one game, Turner knew it was more than just another game.
Turner said there were many different emotions going into the game. She said the game was exciting because it was on national TV, but it was sad because it was Holmstead’s last game. She said she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, though.
The post-season begins for the Red Storm tomorrow in the Pacific West conference tournament in San Diego against Dominican University of California.