Mustang Boys in Playoff Hunt
The North Moore Mustangs suffered a tough 88-52 road loss at the hands of Thomasville's Bulldogs Tuesday night. It was the regular-season finale for the Mustangs, who finished 9-14 overall and 4-8 in the Yadkin Valley 1A Conference.
North Moore played the Bulldogs tight early in the game and trailed only 16-12 at the end of the first quarter. After that, the size and depth of Thomasville took its toll on the Mustangs.
"Thomasville is ranked No. 1 in the state in 1-A, and is a front-runner to win the state title," North Moore coach Chris Coble said after the game. "Going into Thomasville we knew it would be tough going, but we wanted to play hard and play our best.
"We started off well and broke their pressure in the first quarter. Then we turned the ball over a few times and by the half it was 44-22."
The Bulldogs outscored the Mustangs 28-10 in the crucial second period behind the relentless play of Trey Ray, who netted 15 points in the contest, and E. J. Abrams-Ward (14 total points). They led five different Thomasville players in double figures.
Marshallrett Ross (14 points) and Rashad Brower (10 points) made it into double figures for the Mustangs. Ryan Chisholm just missed double digits with a nine-point performance.
"In the second half it was pretty much the same story," Coble said. "Thomasville is very good and very deep on its bench."
Still, the Mustangs gave a decent account of themselves against the 1-A powerhouse in the second half. The score stood at 67-36 after three quarters. North Moore refused to quit and played a little tougher in the final stanza in which they were only outscored 21-16 en route to the final score of 88-52 in favor of Thomasville.
Ben Purvis, with a pair of three-pointers, scored six points and Harold Chandler added another trey for his three points in the valiant effort. Jerome Maness added four points and Markus Brower, Rakeem Chesney, and Dwayne Simmons hit for two points each.
The Mustangs actually outperformed the Bulldogs in one key area. North Moore shot 75 percent from the charity stripe to Thomasville's 50 percent.
"We play next week in the conference tourney," Coble said. "It looks as though we have qualified for the state playoffs that begin the following week. I'm very proud of the guys and their effort this season."
It was indeed a remarkable turnaround for a team that managed only three victories in 24 games last season. And, as Coble pointed out, the Mustangs aren't through yet.
"Now we begin the next phase of our season," Coble said. "With losses of one, two, three, four, five, six and nine points (during the season), if we can get over the hump we could make a late run in the conference tournament and the state playoffs."
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