Bears Derail Mustangs in Opener
There is an old saying in the basketball world, “It’s hard to beat a team three times.”
Well, if the North Moore girls’ basketball team was going to make any noise in the Yadkin Valley Conference tournament, it would have to pull the feat off in the opening round at Chatham Central Monday.
After beating the Lady Bears by 24 points earlier in the season, and by 10 points as recently as Friday night, the Lady Mustangs came out flat in the third quarter and the host Bears made North Moore pay the price as Chatham Central held off a late rally for a 54-50 victory.
The Bears, the tourney No. 4 seed with an 11-12 overall record, will meet defending and regular-season champion South Davidson Wednesday in the semifinals being held at East Montgomery. The Wildcats won their opening-round game easily over eighth-seed East Montgomery.
In the other opening-round games, second-seed West Montgomery pounded seventh-seed Gray Stone 65-42 and third-place North Rowan handed sixth-place Albemarle a 71-48 setback.
There was a controversy with just over four minutes left in the game while the Mustangs were mounting their rally when North Moore’s Jalisa Davis, the conference leading scorer at 23.8 points per game, was whistled for a foul. Chatham Central’s scorekeeper said it was Davis’ fifth foul, while North Moore’s keeper had Davis with only four fouls. The rules say the game officials must go by the home scorekeeper, so Davis was sent to the bench.
The Mustangs’ defense was stingy during the opening period, not allowing the Bears to score until 3:10 was left in the quarter on a bucket by Katelyn Moody. However, the Mustangs’ offense was also struggling, holding only a 5-0 lead when the Bears finally scored.
The Mustangs went up 10-3 when sophomore Andrea Brower knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:02 left in the opening frame. Chatham Central’s Jordan Culberson hit back-to-back buckets before the end of the stanza, trimming North Moore’s lead to 3 points as the second quarter opened.
The two teams swapped buckets to start the second quarter and with 2:09 left in the half, the Bears took their first lead of the contest on a 3-pointer from the right side by Gracie Brown, putting her team up 16-15. The Mustangs took a 3-point lead on back-to-back baskets by Brower and senior Jessie Sheffield.
The Bears scored 4 straight points for a 1-point lead with under seven seconds left in the half. As the clock expired, ending the first half, Sheffield connected on a 3-pointer just across half-court line for a 22-20 Mustang lead at the break.
With the Bears dominating the rebounding, Chatham Central outscored the Mustangs 15-8 during the third period for a 35-30 lead going into the final frame. The Bears ended up with a 49-33 advantage on the boards.
The Bears continued to stretch their lead in the fourth quarter, taking a 46-36 lead when Davis went to the bench with five fouls. With North Moore’s leading scorer on the bench, the Bears eventually took a 50-36 lead with 3:33 left in the game. The Mustangs rallied behind Casey Turner’s 3-point shooting to outscore Chatham Central 14-4 over the remainder of the contest.
The Mustangs connected on 15-of-27 foul shots while the Bears were 13-for-33 from the charity stripe. North Moore finished with 15 turnovers while Chatham Central had 23.
Davis led the Mustangs with 15 points followed by Brower with 10 points.
The Bears had three players in double figures, led by Culberson with 15 points, Moody with 13 points and Ashley Hudson 12.
The Mustangs will have to wait for the 1-A state playoffs pairing to be released by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association late Saturday to see who their first-round opponent is going to be. The first round is scheduled to be played Feb. 25.
North Moore 10 12 8 20 — 50
C. Central 7 13 15 19 — 54
North Moore: Davis 5 5-6 15, Brower 3 3-4 10, Turner 3 0-2 9, Sheffield 2 2-3 7, Little 1 4-8 6, Dunmyer 1 0-2 2, Martin 0 1-2 1. Totals 15 15-27 50.
Chatham Central: Culberson 7 1-6 15, K. Moody 6 1-2 13, Hudson 4 4-8 12, Brown 1 2-4 5, Cole 1 3-3 5, Batten 1 1-23, Cotton 0 1-4 1, E. Moody 0 0-3 0, Ally Maness 0 0-1 0. Totals 20 13-33.
Three-point goals: NM 5 (Turner 3, Sheffield, Brower); CC 1 (Brown).
More like this story