Defense Sparks Mustang Girls Past Knights
The North Moore girls’ basketball team went to the strategy that had brought it victories in the previous two games when the Lady Mustangs entertained Gray Stone Friday in a Yadkin Valley Conference contest.
And once again the formula worked, as North Moore picked up a 67-41 win.
With North Moore being shorthanded because a couple of girls are nursing injuries, Mustang coach Sammy McNeill has started the past three games sitting back and observing what the opposing teams are doing offensively in the first quarter.
Then in the second period, the Mustangs have stepped up their defensive intensity, igniting their running game on the way to picking up three straight wins.
“Our defense has been the key here for us lately,” said McNeill, whose team improves to 4-3 in conference action and 9-5 overall. “We’ve followed the same game plan the past couple of games and it’s worked. With our big girls not playing (seniors Tyisha Horn and Tiosha McCaskill), we were concerned about rebounding with their tall girls. We had some girls to step up and play well and Mone’ (Little) did a good job rebounding.
“Our point guard Casey Turner played very well for us. We brought up Carla Brown, a freshman, from the junior varsity and she gave us some good minutes and scored four points. We got a little sloppy at the end and we still have some things to work on.”
Both teams started the game playing zone defenses with the Mustangs holding a slim lead during the first period. With North Moore holding a 10-7 lead as the first quarter was drawing to a close sophomore Kasi Martin connected on a three-pointer, giving her team a 13-7 lead heading into the second frame.
Gray Stone’s Kendall Taylor and Mary Cadle both hit on a pair of foul shots, trimming the Mustangs’ lead to two points in the opening minute of the quarter. Then North Moore’s pressure defense started to pay off as it ran off nine straight points with seniors Jalisa Davis and Jessie Sheffield leading the charge.
After the Lady Knights (1-7 YVC, 4-9 overall) broke their scoring drought on a bucket by Cadle, the Mustangs ran off 11 more points, giving them a 20-point lead with 43 seconds left in the half. Cadle hit on two more free throws and Cat Harward hit a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, cutting the lead to 33-18 at the break.
Turner led the Mustangs in the first half with nine points while Davis added a pair of treys. Cadle had six points for the Knights.
With Turner getting a couple of putback buckets, along with one by Davis, North surged back to a 21-point lead to start the second half. The two teams exchanged points with the Mustangs holding a 46-25 lead with 3:40 left in the third period.
Gray Stone’s Shannon Efird and Kate Sullivan scored on one bucket each before the Mustangs’ Emma Loutzenheiser hit on one-of-two free throws just before the end of the quarter, giving North a 47-29 going into the final period.
During the fourth quarter, the Knights stepped up their defensive pressure and on a couple of occasions cut the lead to 14 points, the last coming at the 5:32 mark. The Mustangs would end the game going on a 17-5 run for the final 26-point margin.
Davis led the Mustangs with 19 points followed by Turner’s career-high 15 points. Efird led the Knights with 11 points followed by Cadle with eight points.
The Mustangs’ game with Chatham Central for Tuesday has been postponed to Jan. 24 because of exams. North Moore will travel to South Stanly Friday for their next contest.
The girls’ game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. followed by the boys’ game.
Gray Stone 7 11 11 12 — 41
North Moore 13 20 14 20 — 67
Gray Stone: Efrid 4 3-8 11, Cadle 2 4-6 8, Harward 2 2-5 7, Taylor 1 3-6 5, Ansbro 3 0-1 3, Sullivan 1 1-2 3, Deese 0 2-4 2, Redman 0 1-3 1, Harrington 0 1-2 1. Totals 11 17-37 41.
North Moore: Davis 7 3-3 19, Turner 7 0-2 15, Loutzenheiser 1 6-9, 8, Brower 3 0-0 7, Brown 2 0-0 4, Dunmyer 0 3-6 3, Little 0 3-6 3. Totals 23 13-28 67.
Three-point goals: GS 2 (Harward, Ansbro); NM 5 (Davis 2, Martin, Turner, Brower).
More like this story