North Moore Boys Knock Off O'Neal
When the North Moore boys’ basketball team visited O’Neal Thursday at the Hannah Center, the two cross-county rivals were taking a break from their respective conference wars to find out which team would claim bragging rights.
The O’Neal squad got off to a fast start, but a 16-5 run midway through the second quarter gave the visiting Mustangs the spark they needed to go on to a 63-50 victory.
The win pulled the Mustangs’ overall record even at 4-4 while the Falcons fell to 3-6 on the year.
Each team had a player to notch a double-double with Falcon senior Jacob Talbert scoring a game-high 25 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. The Mustangs’ Malik Chisholm had 13 boards and scored 13 points for his second straight double-double.
“Malik stepped up for us, especially in the fourth quarter,” said North Moore coach Grant Smith. “We challenged him and the rest of the team to play with intensity. O’Neal’s Talbert is an outstanding player and he never stops, so we challenged the team at halftime to step up our defensive intensity and set the tone for the game.
“Denzel (Herron) and Landon (Auman) did a good job on defense and our point guard Adam Bullard played well and distributed the ball well. It was a good game, but now we have to get ready for our conference games.”
Both teams’ defense set the tone early in the game with both offenses struggling to find an opening. The Falcons had the most success in the opening frame with them pulling out to a 10-4 lead, eventually taking a 12-6 lead at the end of the period on a putback bucket by Talbert at the buzzer.
The two teams swapped baskets to start the second quarter, with O’Neal holding a 16-10 lead on Talbert’s 10th point of the game. Then Mustang junior Quashan Davis ignited a 7-0 run for his team, first hitting a short jumper and following it with a three-pointer from the corner.
Herron’s first bucket of the game gave the Mustangs their first lead since the game’s first basket. Joseph Taylor gave the Falcons an 18-17 lead before the Mustangs retook the lead on a pair of foul shots by Chisholm.
Then North Moore senior Daniel Purvis came off the bench to nail a three-pointer, putting his team up 22-18 with 1:12 left in the half. North Moore outscored the Falcons 16-5 over the final four-plus minutes for a 26-21 lead at the break.
“We didn’t play well,” said O’Neal coach David Graves. “But you have to credit that to North Moore’s defense. They took us out of things we like to do. They played solid defense and we let them dictate the tone of the game.”
With Davis and Auman knocking down a couple of shots from beyond the arc, the Mustangs opened the third period on a 12-5 run, giving North Moore a 38-26 lead with 4:02 left in the quarter.
Then it was time of the Falcons to go on a 12-4 scoring run to close out the period. Garrett Klumpar got the rally going by hitting a three-pointer, followed by Auman hitting one of two foul shots. The Falcons’ Theo Johnson converted an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by two buckets by Talbert sandwiched around a basket by teammate John Roger Moore. With the run, the Falcons trailed 42-38 going into the final period.
The two teams exchanged baskets over the first two-plus minutes of the fourth quarter and with the Mustangs leading 46-42 with 5:38 left in the contest, they went on a 9-0 run.
Chisholm fueled the run with a tip-in and hit on four for four from the charity stripe. Herron scored the other three points during the spurt, giving the Mustangs a 13-point lead with 2:45 left in the game.
The closest the Falcons got after that was 10 points when Talbert hit three-pointer from the top of the key with 1:42 left. The Mustangs would go on to pick up the victory.
North Moore hit on 13 of 20 foul shots during the crucial fourth quarter. North Moore finished the game hitting 20-of-30 free throws, while the Falcons attempted only 13 foul shots and hit on six of them.
The two teams will meet again Jan. 7 when O’Neal travels to North Moore.
Davis broke out of a recent scoring slump, leading his team with 17 points, followed by Auman with 14 points, Chisholm 13, Herron seven, Bullard five, Purvis three, Matthew Spivey 2 and Aaron Richardson two. Following Talbert’s 25 points in the scoring column were Johnson with nine points, Klumpar seven, Moore six, Taylor two and Grant Whitmire one.
The Mustangs entertain West Montgomery Tuesday while the Falcons host Carolina Friends. The O’Neal girls’ game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys’ contest. The North Moore girls’ game tips off at 6 p.m. followed by the boys’ matchup.
North Moore 6 20 16 21 — 63
O’Neal 12 9 17 12 — 50
North Moore: Davis 6 2-4 17; Auman 3 7-10 14; Chisholm 3 7-8 13; Herron 3 1-2 7; Bullard 1 3-6 5; Purvis 1 0-0 3; Spivey 1 0-0 2; Richardson 1 0-0 2. Totals - 19 20-30 63.
O’Neal: Talbert 11 2-3 25; Johnson 4 1-1 9; Klumpar 2 2-4 7; Moore 3 0-1 6; Taylor 1 0-2 2; Whitmire 0 1-2 1. Totals - 21 6-13 50.
Three-point goals: NM 5 (Davis 3, Auman, Purvis), O’N 2 (Talbert, Klumpar).
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