Spivey's Heroics Not Enough, as North Moore Falls in OT
Senior point guard John Spivey stole an inbound pass and made a three-pointer as the fourth-quarter clock expired to send North Moore's boys' basketball game against visiting Albemarle to overtime, but the Mustangs were outscored 8-0 in the extra period and fell 58-50 Wednesday night.
"That's the story of our season," said head coach Grant Smith. "Can't quite get over the hump."
Albemarle, locked in a three-way battle with East Montgomery and North Rowan for Yadkin Valley 1A Conference supremacy, improved to 11-3 overall and 9-2 in conference play. Meanwhile, North Moore fell to 4-13 overall and 3-8 in conference play after being swept by the Bulldogs, who won 58-52 the first time the two teams met on Jan. 11.
Of North Moore's 11 conference games, eight have been decided by eight points or less.
"The kids are giving me effort, but at the end it just seems like we're not getting rewarded," said Smith. "As a coach, I look at the small battles we're winning. Being able to at least compete with a team like this on the backboards. We'll just keep working along and see what happens."
Corbin Brock led the Mustangs with 18 points, and Spivey added 17.
North Moore was ahead 47-46 with 48 seconds to play in the fourth quarter after T.J. Kennedy Jr. banked in a jumper, but Albemarle took the lead back on a Kendall Sellers basket and extended it to 50-47 on a Terrance Christian putback with 10 seconds to play.
A forward, Christian led the Bulldogs with 16 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Inside four seconds to play in regulation, Spivey's off-balance three-pointer was no good, and the rebound went out of bounds off the Mustangs with 1.4 seconds showing on the clock.
All Albemarle had to do was inbound successfully, and the game would have been over. But Spivey had other ideas, stealing the inbound pass and taking a step back to drain the tying trey as the buzzer sounded.
"It wasn't his best shooting night tonight, but he's giving me everything," Smith said of Spivey. "I just wish some of the outcomes were better for him."
North Moore turned the ball over 10 times in the first half as compared to three turnovers for Albemarle, but the tables were turned in the second half, as the Mustangs forced 10 Bulldog turnovers, which led to 11 North Moore points.
Albemarle led 22-21 at halftime and 33-31 at the end of the third quarter. But Brock opened the fourth quarter with a steal, which he turned into a three-point play to put the Mustangs ahead 34-33. On the Bulldogs' ensuing possession, Spivey came up with a steal and a layup to extend the lead to 36-33.
Albemarle would score the next nine points unanswered to go ahead 42-36, but North Moore answered with a 9-0 run of its own to take a 45-42 lead with 2:37 to play.
Albemarle's poor free throw shooting helped North Moore stay in the game. The Bulldogs made only 6 of 21 free throws, as compared to 5 of 8 for the home squad, although the Mustangs missed a pair of critical free throws in overtime, both on the front end of one-and-one opportunities.
The road didn't get any easier for North Moore Thursday. The Mustangs hosted first-place North Rowan, and are back home tonight for their third game in three days hosting Gray Stone.
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