Falcons Hold Off Mustangs
Anyone who knows anything at all about basketball knows the object of the game is to put the ball through the hoop for points.
Well, when you go more than 11 minutes in a 32-minute game without scoring it’s hard to win the game. That’s what happened to the North Moore boys’ basketball team when it entertained cross-county rival O’Neal in a nonconference contest Monday.
Spanning the final 5:02 of the first half and continuing to the 1:38 mark of the third period, the Mustangs didn’t score a point. A lot to do with the scoring drought may have been the defense of the visiting Falcons as they took advantage of the lack of points for a 48-40 victory.
The Falcon win avenges an earlier 63-50 loss at O’Neal.
“We’re glad to get the win,” said O’Neal coach David Graves. “It was a great high school basketball game played in a great atmosphere. The guys really stepped up, and they were able to take them (North Moore) out of the things they like to do offensively. It was a great defensive effort on our part.
“Of course, they played good defense too, holding us to only four points in the third quarter. It was a good game to watch with both teams fighting hard to win. We didn’t have Jack Johnston in the first game against them and I think he made a big difference for us with his inside play. The whole team played well.”
O’Neal improves to 5-8 on the season while North Moore drops to 5-7.
North Moore got off to a fast start, building a 15-8 lead when sophomore Matthew Spivey hit a three-pointer from the left elbow with 1:07 left in the opening quarter. The Falcons responded by scoring the final four points of the period and first four points of the second quarter, taking a 16-15 lead with 7:10 left in the half.
The two teams swapped buckets before Mustang junior Quashan Davis connected on back-to-back driving layups with the second basket coming from a pass from senior teammate Landon Auman. Davis’ second basket gave his team a 21-18 lead with 5:02 left in the second quarter.
The Falcons could take very little of advantage of the Mustangs’ cold spell, managing only six points over the remainder of the half for a 24-21 lead at the break. Falcon senior Jacob Talbert was the game’s top scorer in the first half with eight points. Davis had seven for the Mustangs with Auman and Spivey chipping in six points each.
Both teams opened the second half trying to find a crack in the other team’s defense as the Falcons had the earliest success with buckets by Johnston and Lucas Elliott. Elliott’s bucket gave his team a 28-21 lead with 4:32 left in the third period.
The Mustangs finally broke their scoring drought with back-to-back driving layups by Auman, one on an inbound play on an assist from senior Adam Bullard, pulling the Mustangs to within 28-25. Then with 21 seconds left in the period, Bullard connected on a three-pointer from the corner, tying the game at 28 as the final frame started.
The two teams swapped baskets as the fourth quarter opened. Then the Mustangs had a chance to get some breathing room, but missed twice on the front of one-and-ones. Johnston put the Falcons up 32-30 on a short stick-back and at the other end the Mustangs hit on a pair of free throws, one by Auman and the other by Bullard. Bullard got to shoot Auman’s second foul shot since Auman had to go to the dressing room for a new jersey, since his regular one had blood on it.
Talbert’s bucket with 4:58 left in the game put the Falcons on top for good at 34-32. Theo Johnson converted a three-point play for the Falcons, putting them up by five points. Davis hit one-of-two foul shots for the Mustangs, followed by a pair of free throws by Talbert, giving O’Neal a 39-33 lead with 4:03 left in the contest.
North Moore brought the lead back to four points on a drive by Auman. Then Davis got his team to within one point when he banked a three-pointer from the left elbow with 2:56 left.
Jerry Roger Moore pushed the Falcons’ lead back to four points, hitting a short jumper and later connecting on the front end of a one-and-one. A basket by Johnson put the lead back to six points with 1:18 left in the game. Spivey hit a running one-hander driving down the middle of the lane, but that’s as close as the Mustangs would get.
O’Neal’s Talbert and Johnson would both hit on a pair of foul shots for the final eight-point margin. The Falcons hit on eight-of-11 foul shots during the crucial fourth period and were 10 of 13 for the game. The Mustangs misfired on seven-of-11 charity shots during the game.
“I was very disappointed with our effort,” said North Moore coach Grant Smith. “We didn’t stay focused and that’s something we need to work on now that we’re getting back into conference play. We didn’t rebound well and we’re not playing physical and we’re getting pushed around because of that. We had too many turnovers and we gave up too many easy baskets. You’re not going to win any games playing that way.”
Talbert led all scorers with 16 points, eight in the fourth quarter, for the Falcons. Following Talbert in the O’Neal scoring column were Johnson with nine points, Johnston eight, Moore five, Elliott four, Grant Whitmire four and Garrett Klumpar two. Auman led the Mustangs with 13 points, followed by Davis with 11 points, Spivey eight, Bullard six and Malik Chisholm two.
The Mustangs host Gray Stone in Yadkin Valley Conference Friday while O’Neal entertains Cape Fear Academy.
O’Neal 12 12 4 20 — 48
North Moore 15 6 7 12 — 40
O’Neal: Talbert 6 4-4 16, Johnson 3 3-3 9, Johnston 4 0-0 8, Moore 2 1-4 5, Elliott 1 2-2 4, Whitmire 2 0-0 4, Klumpar 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 10-13 48.
North Moore: Auman 5 2-6 13, Davis 4 1-3 11, Spivey 3 0-0 8, Bullard 2 1-1 6, Chisholm 1 0-0 2, Denzel Herron 0 0-1 0. Totals 15 4-11 40.
Three-point goals: ON none; NM 6 (Davis 2, Spivey 2, Auman, Bullard).
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