Mustangs Face Defending State Champs Tonight
For the first time in nearly two decades, the North Moore boys’ basketball team won their opening round state 1-A playoff game.
It wasn’t easy for the ninth-seeded Mustangs as they needed overtime to defeat eighth-seeded Central Academy in Monroe Monday. After tying the game at 58 late in the fourth period, the Mustangs poured it on in the extra period, outscoring the host Cougars 18-7 for a 76-65 victory.
The Mustangs now will face top-seeded and defending state champion Winston-Salem Prep Wednesday in their second-round game. Winston-Salem Prep, 27-2 overall, won its first-round game over North Moore’s fellow Yadkin Valley Confer-ence member Chatham Central by a 100-37 score.
“We played well and it was a good win for us,” said North Moore coach Grant Smith. “I was surprise at their size, and they are a good team. Our defense played well and we rebounded well. We did give up some easy baskets, but we were able to adjust. The team played well.”
Central Academy is a member of the Rocky River 1-A/2-A Conference, where it finished sixth overall, but received the No. 2 seed from the conference’s 1-A schools.
With the victory, the Mustangs improve to 15-11 overall while the Cougars end their season with a 9-16 overall record.
The game was tight throughout the contest, with neither team gaining a big advantage on the scoreboard. Mustang senior point guard Adam Bullard got into foul trouble early in the first quarter and had to sit on the bench for rest of the opening period.
With Bullard on the bench, the Mustangs trailed 17-13 at the end of the first quarter despite Mustang junior Quashan Davis’ eight points.
With Bullard back in the game, North Moore switched to a zone defense in the second quarter and was able to tie the contest at 27 going into the halftime break. Senior Landon Auman tallied eight points for the Mustangs during the second quarter.
The Cougars had the edge in the third quarter, posting 15 points while the Mustangs managed 13 points, leaving them on the short end of a 42-40 score going into the final stanza.
Auman had seven points for the Mustangs during the quarter, while junior teammate Malik Chisholm added six points.
North Moore trailed much of the fourth quarter but managed to tie the game on sophomore Matthew Spivey’s second three-pointer of the game.
The Mustangs had a couple of chances to win the game, but turnovers prevented them from taking the lead.
“With our turnovers, they (Central Academy) got the momentum, so I called a timeout to regroup,” said Smith. “They had a chance to win the game, but our defense came up with a big play to send the game into overtime.”
Davis scored 10 of his team-high 24 points during the fourth period.
The Mustangs stepped it up in the extra period, with Davis scoring six points and Chisholm adding five points. North Moore hit four-of-eight foul shots during the overtime period and 11-for-23 during the game.
Davis led the Mustangs with 24 points, including three treys, followed by Auman with 20 points, Chisholm 17 points, Spivey eight, Denzel Herron three and Josh Wallace two.
Central Academy’s Ryan Grigston scored a game-high 25 points followed by sophomore teammates Naim Donaldson with 11 points and Quay Threatt with 10.
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