Mustangs Topple Rebel Bulls
When a basketball team is missing its leading scorer, it usually has to step up its defense, control the boards and have other players step up to fill the scoring void.
That’s the formula the North Moore boys’ basketball team used when they defeated visiting South Stanly 59-41 Tuesday in the opening round of the Yadkin Val-ley Conference tournament.
North Moore, the conference’s No. 3 seed, finished the season with a 10-6 conference mark (14-10 overall), while South Stanly, the sixth seed, had a 7-9 league record (8-17 overall).
The Mustangs moved on to the semifinals, where they played second-place Albemarle, a 67-36 winner over Chatham Central in the first round, Thursday at East Montgomery. If the Mustangs were successful against Albemarle, they would play in the tournament championship game tonight (Friday), also at East Montgomery.
With junior Quashan Davis, the Mustangs’ leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, on the bench because of an injury suffered in last week’s game at Gray Stone, North Moore had three players score in double figures — Landon Auman with 17 points, Matthew Spivey with 15, and Malik Chisholm with 13.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs’ defense, led by senior Denzel Herron, held South Stanly’s leading scorer, Michard Richardson, to only 2 points. Richardson came into the contest as the conference’s third leading scorer at 15.8 points per contest.
“It feels good to see the guys step up with Quashan not able to play,” said North Moore coach Grant Smith. “He thought he might able to play and he just found out today he couldn’t. He was very disappointed. The rest of the team really stepped up and played good defense and we did a good job rebounding.
“Denzel did a good job on defending Michard (Richardson). He’s caused us a lot of problems in the other two games we played them during the season. We beat them twice during the season by five points in each game. In each game we had double-digit leads and let them come back to tie us, but tonight we didn’t let that happen. Now we have to get ready for Albemarle.”
With both teams opening in zone defenses and pressuring full court on inbound plays, neither team could find many openings for scoring as the first quarter ended with the visiting Rebel Bulls on top 8-7.
The second quarter opened with Spivey connecting on the first of his five 3-pointers, putting the Mustangs up 10-8. South Stanly countered with a trey from Terence Smith, giving his team its last lead of the game at 11-10 with 6:38 to go in the first half.
Then North Moore went on a 7-0 run, sparked by another long-range bomb from Spivey. The Bulls cut the lead to 4 points on a three-pointer shot from the corner by Bernardo Granados. Auman had back-to-back buckets on a putback and a driving layup off an assist from Chisholm, giving North Moore an 8-point lead with 1:19 left in the half.
Mon Holt trimmed the lead to 22-16 with a bucket in the final minute of the half. Neither team was able to score over the remainder of the half, leaving North Moore on top by 6 points going into halftime.
The Mustangs quickly went up by 10 points to open the third period on buckets from Chisholm and Auman. The Bulls responded with an 8-2 run, cutting the Mustangs’ lead to four points.
North Moore’s lead would go from 4 to 7 points until there was 1:01 left in the third frame.
The Mustangs closed out the period on an 8-2 run for a 41-31 advantage going into the final stanza.
Auman had nine of his game-high 17 points during the quarter.
The Mustangs opened the fourth quarter on a 6-point run, with buckets from senior Adam Bullard and Herron and a pair of foul shots from Chisholm. The Bulls were able to whittle the lead down to 11 points by scoring the next five points.
The Mustangs scored the next 9 points, with Chisholm scoring 6 points and Spivey canning his fifth 3-pointer from the corner for a 56-36 lead with 3:18 left in the contest.
South Stanly scored the next 5 points and the Mustangs’ final points came before the buzzer on a bank-shot 3-pointer from senior Daniel Purvis.
Following Auman, Spivey and Chisholm in the Mustangs’ scoring column was Bullard with 4 points, Herron 4, Purvis 3, Aaron Richardson 2 and Austin Hunsucker 1.
Juwan Johnson led the Bulls with 10 points.
South Stanly 8 8 15 10 — 41
North Moore 7 15 19 18 — 59
South Stanly: Johnson 3 4-11 10, Granados 3 0-0 8, T. Smith 3 0-0 8, W. Smith 2 1-4 6, Burris 1 1-2 3, Richardson 1 0-0 2, Holt 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 6-16 41.
North Moore: Auman 7 3-5 17, Spivey 5 0-1 15, Chisholm 4 5-6 13, Bullard 2 0-0 4, Purvis 1 0-0 3, Richardson 1 0-0 2, Hunsucker 0 1-2 1. Totals 22 9-14 59.
Three-point goals: SS 5 (T. Smith 2, Granados 2, W. Smith); NM 6 (Spivey 5, Purvis).
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