Bulldogs' Defense Slows Mustangs
The North Moore boys’ basketball team stayed with Albemarle for one quarter, but the homestanding Bulldogs stepped up their defensive intensity, creating Mustang miscues and easy buckets for a 67-43 victory Tuesday.
Going against the Yadkin Valley Conference’s top defensive team, Albemarle is giving up less than 43 points per contest, North Moore kept pace with Bulldogs during the first period, trailing 19-15.
But the Bulldog’s smothering half-court trapping defense started to take its toll on the Mustangs as Albemarle raced to an 11-point lead at the break.
“We played well in the first quarter,” said North Moore coach Grant Smith. “Then they (Albemarle) turned it up and we couldn’t continue to play at that level. They do a good job with their defense and they can score some points in a hurry. I was disappointed with the way we didn’t take care of the ball; we made a lot of turnovers.
“We’re still struggling with our team chemistry and trying to get in a groove. It’s back to the drawing board for the West (Montgomery) game Friday.”
North Moore is now 6-5 in conference action and 9-9 overall while Albemarle continues to hold on to second place with a 9-1 league mark and 13-1 overall. The Bulldogs have won 13 games in a row, since opening the season with a loss to conference leader North Rowan.
The Mustangs and Bulldogs had five players each to score in the fast-paced first quarter, with Albemarle holding a four-point edge at the end. North Moore took a 10-9 lead when junior Malik Chisholm converted a three-point play with 3:37 left in the period.
Albemarle ran off eight straight points over the next minute for a seven-point lead. North Moore scored the next five points, with sophomore Matthew Spivey canning a pair of free throws and Chisholm drilling a trey from the corner.
Albemarle scored the final bucket of the period for their four-point lead.
Mustang junior Quashan Davis hit on a three-pointer for the second period’s first points, cutting the Bulldog lead to one point. The Bulldogs’ defense started to pay dividends as they outscored the Mustangs 11-1 for an 11-point lead with 3:01 left in the half.
The two teams swapped buckets over the rest of the quarter, giving the Bulldogs a 34-23 lead at the break. Davis and Chisholm each had six points at the break while Albemarle’s Bryan Blanton had 12 points.
The Bulldogs opened the third period by scoring the first six points for a 40-23 lead with 6:01 left in the quarter. The Mustangs responded with a couple of baskets by senior Landon Auman, and one bucket each from senior Adam Bullard and Chisholm.
The Mustangs trimmed the lead to 11 cvwith 3:23 left. The Bulldogs finished the third quarter on a 7-2 run for a 49-33 lead going into the final stanza.
North Moore opened the fourth quarter with cold shooting as it didn’t score its first field goal until 4:30 left in the game. The dry spell allowed the Bulldogs to open a 27-point lead. The Mustangs would get no closer than 24 points, matching the final margin.
Davis was the lone Mustang in double figures with 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Chisholm finished with nine points, Auman eight and Bullard five.
Blanton led the Bulldogs with 17 points followed by Deon Christian and T’Kyle Williams, both with 11 points.
The Mustangs travel to West Montgomery tonight (Friday) with the girls’ game scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m. followed by the boys’ contest.
North Moore 15 8 10 10 — 43
Albemarle 19 15 15 18 — 67
North Moore: Davis 4 1-2 11, Chisholm 3 2-3 9, Auman 4 0-3 8, Bullard 2 0-0 5, Spivey 0 2-2 2, Herron 1 0-0 2, Richardson 1 0-1 2, Purvis 1 0-0 2, Troxler 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 7-13 43.
Albemarle: Blanton 7 1-1 17, Christian 3 5-7 11, Williams 5 1-2 11, Currie 4 0-1 8, Autry 2 0-0 4, Ridenhour 1 2-2 4, Ellis 1 0-1 3, Niven 1 1-4 3, R. Baldwin 1 0-0 2, Brown 1 0-0 2, S. Baldwin 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 10-18 67.
Three-point goals: NM 4 (Davis 2, Bullard, Chisholm); A 3 (Blanton 2, Ellis).
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