Mustangs Run Win Streak to Seven
It would have been the perfect time to panic.
North Moore's girls' basketball team let homestanding East Montgomery come all the way back from a 15-point first-half deficit to tie the score on Nicole Smith's sixth three-pointer, and to make matters worse, the Lady Mustangs' leading scorer, Shakorya Brower, fouled out early in the fourth quarter with North Moore clinging to a tenuous 44-42 lead.
"I've seen teams, coached teams, that have panicked at that time," said head coach Sammy McNeill.
But Friday night, North Moore was not one of them. Instead, with first sub Lauren Green taking Brower's place, the Lady Mustangs went on a 13-4 run over the next six minutes to take a commanding 57-46 lead with 1:28 remaining. The effort culminated in a 61-52 win, their seventh straight and sixth straight against Yadkin Valley 1A Conference foes after opening league play 0-2.
"They say the sign that you've developed into a team instead of an individual thing is when somebody can go out, and somebody else can step in and fill their spot for you," said McNeill. "Tonight we took a big step in the right direction. It's all about us, not about one individual."
The result avenged a conference-opening 62-51 loss to East Montgomery on Dec. 8. North Moore improved to 10-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play with the win, while the Lady Eagles fell to 7-8 overall and 4-5 in league play.
The Lady Mustangs jumped out to a 27-12 second-quarter lead and led 29-21 at halftime. But East Montgomery closed the half on a 9-2 run, culminating in Smith's second three-pointer of the game, a halfcourt buzzer-beater as time expired.
The Eagle sharpshooter would carry the momentum into the second half, knocking down four three-pointers in the third quarter, with the last tying the score at 40 with 59 seconds showing on the clock.
She would not score again, as North Moore blanketed her with a box-and-one look in the fourth quarter.
Brower fouled out on an over-the-back call with 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when the Lady Mustangs took over.
Tashonna Farmer scored six of her 15 points in the fourth quarter and sparked the decisive 13-4 run with a basket off a Katelyn Sheffield feed.
After an East Montgomery basket cut the deficit to 46-44, Green put a deuce on the scoreboard off a Jalisa Davis assist, and with 4:03 remaining, Sheffield was pure on a jumper from the corner to extend the North Moore lead to 50-44.
The next two baskets would belong to Farmer. The junior made a jumper off a Sheffield assist with 3:26 showing on the clock and in a flash had the ball back in her hands. Davis had stolen it as East Montgomery advanced it back up the court before feeding Farmer for a layup.
Davis capped the run with a pair of free throws and finished with 15 to match Farmer for the team-high. Brower finished with 12.
Smith scored a game-high 18 points off six three-pointers, and Brandy Rush added 17. Nuquinda Christian, who dropped 22 on North Moore the first time around, was limited to eight points.
The Lady Mustangs forced 20 East Montgomery turnovers and had 15 themselves.
The win was the highlight of the road trip for North Moore.
The Mustang varsity boys, who fell by 16 points to East Montgomery the first time around, found themselves leading 37-33 with 5:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was not to be, however, as East Montgomery scored the next seven points and ended the game on a 14-7 run to win 47-44.
Corbin Brock scored 14 points to lead the Mustangs (4-10, 3-5), and John Spivey added 11 while Tyler Wallace finished with eight. Glendon Mabe scored 13 points for East Montgomery (10-5, 8-1), and Tony Chambers added 12.
North Moore's JV boys fell 55-43.
Five of the Mustangs' next six games are at home. They're back in action Tuesday hosting Chatham Central, before traveling to West Montgomery on Thursday.
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