Bench Sparks Lady Mustangs Over Eagles
When the team’s senior leader and top scorer, who also happens to be the top scorer in the Yadkin Valley Conference, is unable to play because of an injury, then it’s up to the rest of the team to step up and fill the void.
Well the North Moore girls’ basketball team did just that when it traveled to East Montgomery Friday.
With their floor leader Jalisa Davis unable to play due to an injury suffered against South Davidson Wednesday, the rest of the Lady Mustangs came to the rescue in the important conference matchup. After a closely contested first quarter, senior Jessie Sheffield and sophomores Andrea Brower and Casey Turner stepped up in the second quarter, combining for 22 of the team’s 24 second-period points as they built a 37-20 halftime lead en route to a 68-45 victory over the Lady Eagles.
“I felt coming up here that this game could go either way,” said North Moore coach Sammy McNeill. “I told the girls before the game that if they were excited because of Jalisa’s injury that they would be able to get more playing time, and then they were happy because of the wrong reason.
“But if they were excited to get more playing time to prove to their coach they deserve more playing time, then that was the right reason.
“After tonight’s game, they prove that I maybe should be playing them more and I may not be a good coach. A lot of people stepped up and played well. When you consider that we were missing three players that were starters at the start of the season, and be able to get the win, then it’s tribute to the players on the team.
“It was a sweet win and I’m very proud of these girls.”
The Mustangs were led by Sheffield who had a career-high 24 points while Brower chipped in 19 points and Turner 11 in the Mustangs’ victory.
Sheffield finished with six three-pointers, including two in the crucial second period.
The win evens the Mustangs’ conference record at 7-7 and 12-9 overall while the Eagles fall to a 3-12 league mark and 3-17 overall.
The game got off to a slow start with the Mustangs building a 7-0 lead before the Eagles scored their first bucket when Monica Hassell converted a three-point play with 2:11 left in the opening frame. After the Mustangs took a 9-3 lead, the host Eagles outscored North Moore 9-3 over the final two minutes, leaving the Mustangs with a 13-12 lead going into the second quarter.
After the Eagles tied the score at 13 to start the second quarter, Brower got things started with one of the five treys the Mustangs converted during the second stanza, hitting from the corner. Turner followed with a short jumper on an assist from senior Mone’ Little. Turner came up with a steal for a layup and then canned a three-pointer from the corner, giving her team a 23-15 lead with 4:03 left in the half.
Sheffield popped a trey 20 seconds later followed by Brower’s second three-pointer of the period from the same corner, doubling up the Eagles’ score 30-15. North Moore went into the locker room with a 37-20 lead after the 24-point second-quarter outburst. Turner had nine points during the quarter while Brower pitched in with seven points and Sheffield six.
“We challenged the girls during the break between the first and second quarters to step up and take control of the game,” said McNeill. “And I told Jessie that it was time for her to step up and be a leader instead of talking about it and she did in a big way.”
The Mustangs’ shooting cooled off during the third period, but they still led 48-30 heading into the fourth.
Sheffield heated up in the fourth quarter as she connected on two more three-pointers, along with hitting onfour-of-four free throws while Brower added six points and sophomore Kasi Martin came off the bench to score four points, as the Mustangs added 20 points to bring in the final 68-45 margin.
Following Sheffield’s 24 points, the Mustangs got 19 from Brower and 11 from Turne. Hassell was the Eagles’ top scorer with 12 points.
As the Mustangs enter the final week of the regular season, they are currently in fifth place, one game behind Chatham Central, who they entertain Friday in the regular-season finale. North Moore travels to Gray Stone Tuesday for a conference game.
North Moore 13 24 11 20 — 68
East Montgomery 12 8 10 15 — 45
North Moore: Sheffield 6 6-8 24, Brower 6 4-4 19, Turner 5 0-0 11, Martin 3 0-0 6, Little 0 3-6 3, Brown 1 1-4 3, Dunmyer 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 15-22 68.
East Montgomery: Hassell 5 2-3 12, Crisco 1 6-7 9, A. Greene 3 0-0 8, Harrell 3 0-3 6, J. Greene 2 1-2 5, Kellis 1 0-2 2, Clegg 0 2-4 2. Totals 15 12-23 45.
Three-point goals: NM 9 (Sheffield 6, Brower 2, Turner); EM 3 (A. Greene 2, Crisco).
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