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Haley Lang's clutch shot lifts Lady Seahawks

Cape edges Northeast, 35-34, in District 5A-3 basketball tourney

February 14, 2020
By CJ HADDAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

When Cape Coral freshman Haley Lang saw the ball leave her hands with just 20 seconds remaining and her team down by two, she thought it looked good.

About a second and a half later -- probably the longest of her life -- the Lady Seahawks took a 35-34 lead over Northeast High School in the opening round of the District 5A-3 girls basketball state tournament.

When the clock hit triple zeros 18.2 seconds later, the scoreboard remained the same and Seahawks found themselves with a win and on to the next round.

Article Photos

Cape Coral freshman Haley Lang (23) snags an offensive rebound during the Seahawks' regional playoff win against Northeast Thursday night. Lang went on to sink the winning three-pointer. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

What was going through her mind as she set her feet behind the three-point line in the corner, ready to take the biggest shot of her young, promising high school career?

Her sister.

"This is not the last game I was going to play with my sister," Haley said. "With Savannah (Lang), I just want to win states with her -- I want to do as much as possible with her because I won't be able to play with her again after this year."

For the Lang sisters, final-second heroics have become a staple of their game. Last week against Mariner in the district finals, Savannah, a senior, finished a driving layup with 4.4 seconds left gave the Lady Seahawks the victory. On Thursday, it was little sis' turn.

"Right when it left my hand, I'm like, 'That's going in,'" Haley said of her clutch 3-point shot. "I saw my sister's look on her face, she's like, 'You better make this shot.' And I'm like, "I got you.'"

And she did, sending the fans at "The Nest" into a frenzy.

The Lang sisters combined for 12 total points, both dropping six.

Though it was Haley that came up with the game winner, junior stand-out Sierra Moore was the centerpiece of Cape's (19-8) offense all night, scoring 15 points and commanding Northeast's (22-6) attention when on the defensive end.

Moore often found an open teammate as she drew defenders and distributed the ball and also took control when she had to.

Cape head coach Brian Cruz was pleased with his team's resilience, as it was a back and forth battle all night.

"They play hard, man," Cruz said of Northeast. "Basketball is not about skill, it's about doing the little things longer than the other team can. You can have more skill, but if I box out every time and play in front of you -- hands long, the right rotations -- you can beat any team."

Cape would have a slim one-point lead at the half and came out hot to start the third quarter. The Seahawks would knock down their first three shots of the quarter and began to build a lead, that's when Cruz thought they may have started to sit back.

"I think in the third, we got a little complacent because we were building a lead, " Cruz said. "In the fourth, we knew if we didn't pick it up, we could lose the game."

Northeast kept itself in the game with solid defense and began to get hot from downtown. The Lady Vikings knocked down a total of seven 3-point field goals in the game.

"We let up too many 3-pointers," Cruz said. "I knew we had to do something different."

Cape junior Yarily Pacheco, who finished with eight points, finished two big layups late in the fourth to tie the score at 28 and 30 as the game moved into crunch time.

The Lady Vikings would take a two-point lead with less than a minute left, that's when Savannah took an inbounds pass and found her sister in the corner for the eventual game-winner.

"We brought it hard," Haley said of her team's performance. "Sure, we kind of started off slow in the beginning, but we started turning it on in the second half because we refuse to lose."

The Lady Seahawks will next take on No. 1 seeded Jefferson High School (20-3) in Tampa Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a regional semi-final game.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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