Floyd forward Shy Hawkins dribbles the ball into the Whitman...

Floyd forward Shy Hawkins dribbles the ball into the Whitman zone during a Suffolk League I girls basketball game on Saturday at Floyd. Credit: George A Faella

Floyd girls basketball coach Rich Sinclair received a Christmas gift so good that he hadn't even bothered putting it on his list - the return of Shy Hawkins.

Hawkins, a senior who last played for Floyd in her freshman year, returned to her hometown school this week and made her season debut with the Colonials Saturday. Hawkins, a 6-2 wing committed to  Syracuse, played at Long Island Lutheran for her sophomore, junior and the beginning portion of her senior year before transferring back to Floyd.

Sinclair said Hawkins began contacting teammates around Thanksgiving about the possibility of returning. She told Sinclair around Christmas that she was ultimately planning on coming home.

“I couldn’t be happier with that Christmas present I received of her coming back to play and finish out her career with us,” Sinclair said. “We said, ‘You’re always welcome here. You’re one of ours, you’re family.”’

Hawkins shined in her return with 21 points and 13 rebounds in a 45-38 home victory over Whitman, the defending Suffolk Class AA champions, in a Suffolk Division I girls basketball game. She had a slow start in the first half with seven points. But, with the score tied at 17 at the half, her father got her attention and told the Syracuse commit to play more aggressively. Hawkins made four three-pointers as part of a 16-2 third quarter that saw Floyd open up a 33-19 lead.

“I knew I had to get going,” Hawkins said. “I had a little talk from [my dad] so then personally, I felt like I needed to do a little more. The score was really close, so I started shooting some threes and tried to get us going.”

Hawkins said she didn’t feel nervous but that her adrenaline was pumping in her return to Floyd.

“Just coming back home with all my family and friends coming here to watch, it was just exciting to be able to put on a show for them,” she said. “I know everyone was very excited when they heard about me coming back, so it was cool and it was fun.”

Floyd (5-1) held a 35-21 lead early in the fourth quarter before Whitman (4-1) went on a 14-4 run to cut the Colonials’ lead to 39-35 with 2:28 left following a three-pointer by Iris Hoffman. Kayden Meyer had a key basket off an offensive rebound, followed by Jacky Sutherland scoring off a steal to give Floyd a 43-35 lead with 48.1 seconds left.

Sutherland had nine points, nine rebounds and five steals and Kayla Gilmore added nine points and four rebounds, including scoring Floyd’s final basket to secure the victory.

“All great teams make runs, so I think defense won us this game and we were able to lock it down in the final 30 seconds,” Gilmore said. “Kayden had that basket, I had a basket and then we got the ball back at the end, so we all played very well.”

Floyd lost in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals last season and knew Whitman would be a good test. Learning this week that Hawkins would be back to face the Wildcats was an added bonus.

“We weren’t satisfied [last year] and we aren’t satisfied this year,” Gilmore said. “We want a county championship, so to be able to play them in our home building and this crowd and the atmosphere here today was just unbelievable.”

Gilmore sets program record

Gilmore set the Floyd girls basketball scoring record on Saturday. The five-year varsity player has 1,193 points, surpassing Melissa D'Amico’s total of 1,885 points. D'Amico went on to play college basketball at Notre Dame and is the head coach of Boston University’s women’s basketball team. Gilmore is committed to play lacrosse at Maryland.

“It’s honestly surreal, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without the teammates I had all these years and the coaches trusting me with the ball,” Gilmore said. “Just everyone having confidence in me and letting me play how I play.”

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