Mustang Girls Fall to Thomasville
The North Moore girls dropped a 59-29 decision to 1-A powerhouse Thomasville in the semifinals of the Yadkin Valley Conference basketball tournament Thursday night in Robbins.
Thomasville improved to 19-3 on the season and earned a spot in the conference final Friday night. Although eliminated from the conference tourney, the Mustangs take a 16-10 record to the state 1-A playoffs this coming Tuesday night.
The Mustangs played inspired defense to hang with the mighty Bulldogs in the early going, and only trailed 13-11 at the end of the first quarter. After that Thomasville's superior size, speed and depth proved too much for North Moore to handle.
Thomasville utilized an aggressive full-court trapping defense that forced numerous turnovers down both sidelines and in the corners to wear down the Mustangs throughout the rest of the game. It was 31-16 at the half and 50-23 through three quarters.
"That was one of the better efforts we've had against this team," North Moore coach Sammy McNeill said. "There was a big difference in the score, but it wasn't as bad as it's been (in previous games). We had a ton of opportunities. If we could have just converted, this could have been a 10- or 12-point game."
Thomasville's head coach Eric Rader concurred with McNeill's estimation of how tight the game could have been.
"The thing that I love about North Moore is that they play hard," Rader said. "No matter what the score is they're going at you and make it difficult for you.
"I never felt comfortable even with the distance in the score what it was because they are so potent and play so hard. They are a pretty good team."
Both teams utilized aggressive pressure throughout the contest. North Moore's Brittany Harper gave North Moore the first lead with a bucket 43 seconds into contest. Allison Braswell tied the game at 4-4 with the first two of her team-high 11 points with 4:55 left in the first quarter.
Thomasville reeled off six straight points for a 10-4 lead before the Mustangs could score again.
Miranda Love took a feed from Braswell for a backdoor layup to make it a two-possession game. Harper scored down low to tighten the score at 10-8 with 1:42 left in the first period.
Thomasville extended the lead to 13-8 before a late trey by Braswell ended the first quarter scoring with North Moore once again within two.
After that it was off to the races for the Bulldogs. Thomasville scored seven straight points before the Mustangs were able to scratch on a steal and fastbreak bucket from Love that made the score 20-13.
Braswell scored the final basket of the first half to stop an 11-1 run by the Bulldogs. But the damage had already been done. Thomasville led 31-16 at halftime.
North Moore trailed 38-16 before getting on the board in the second half. Quick baskets from Megan McNeill and Logan Monroe cut the deficit to 18 points at 38-20 with 4:52 left in the third quarter.
Thomasville went on a 12-3 tear the remainder of the period that extended the lead to 27 points, 50-23, with a single quarter left in the game.
The game Mustangs refused to concede the game until the final buzzer despite falling behind by as many as 31 points early in the final period. North Moore staged a 6-3 rally in the middle of the fourth quarter to close the gap back to 28 points at 57-29 with 3:05 left in the game. Freshman Hillary Walters scored the final Mustang field goal of the game
Neither team was able to hit from the floor the rest of the way. Thomasville converted two out of four free throw attempts late in the contest to close out the scoring and produce the final score of 59-29.
"They (Thomasville) are not ranked No. 2 in the state for no reason," McNeill said. "They are that good and I told our girls it was a great effort. We're very pleased they played hard and we are looking forward to the state playoffs."
North Moore's first playoff appearance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Raleigh Charter.
North Moore 11 5 7 6 -- 29
Thomasville 13 18 19 9 -- 59
North Moore -- McNeill 1 0-0 2, Monroe 1 0-0 2, Harper 3 0-0 6, Braswell 4, 2-4 11, Covington 0 0-0 0, Love 2 2-3 6, Chandler 0 0-2 0, Powers 0 0-0 0, Walters 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 12 4-9 29.
Thomasville -- Hall 1 1-2 3, McMaster 4 3-4 13, Tate 1 0-0 3, Davis 6 1-1 13, S. Ray 4 3-4 11, Allen 2 4-5 8, Cole 1 4-4 6, Alford 0 0-0 0, 0 2-4 2, Jones 0 0-0 0, Steele 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 19 18-24 59.
Three-point goals: North Moore 1 (Braswell); Thomasville 3 (McMaster 2, Tate 1).
More like this story