Mustang Boys Fall to Fourth-Ranked Cavs
By James W. Houston
Special to The Pilot
The North Moore boys' basketball team had its hands full when the Mustangs entertained defending Yadkin Valley Conference champion North Rowan Tuesday.
The visitors were coming into the game having won all eight of their previous conference games and were sporting a No. 4 ranking in the ncpreps.com state 1-A polls.
While the Mustangs may have been undermanned against the taller and more athletic team, they stayed within striking distance the whole contest before taking a 56-30 loss.
"If we could have hit a few of our early shots and not turned the ball over so much, things might have been different," said North Moore coach Grant Smith. "They (North Rowan) are so fast and quick, you almost have to play perfect to have a chance to beat them. They play very good defense and know how to demoralize a team. We didn't do a good job of protecting the ball.
"I was proud of the way our kids played, they played hard and didn't quit. I saw some positive things that we can build on for our next game at Chatham Central Thursday."
The Mustangs played some good defense to start the game, causing the Cavaliers to turn the ball over three times in their first four offensive possessions, along with the visitors' first shot being an air ball. However, on the other end, the Mustangs couldn't take advantage, as they missed their first four shots.
North Moore got on the scoreboard first when junior Quashan Davis popped the first of his four three-pointers from the corner with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Davis made it 6-0 with his second trey less than 30 seconds later.
The Cavaliers finally scored on dunk by 6-foot-7 Malik Ford with 3:54 left in the opening frame. North Rowan tied the game on back-to-back buckets by Oshon West, the conference's leading scorer.
Adam Bullard gave the Mustangs' their last lead when he hit a short running jumper at the 1:28 mark. North Rowan tied the game and then took the lead for good in the final two seconds on a three-pointer by T.J. Bates.
The Cavaliers stepped up their defensive pressure to start the second quarter, which led to numerous turnovers by the Mustangs and to some easy buckets for the visitors. North Rowan scored 12 unanswered points to open the second quarter.
The Mustangs finally scored with 2:56 left in the half on bucket by Davis. Davis would add a three-pointer and one foul shot before the half ended. Austin Hunsucker hit two foul shots to give the Mustangs eight points during the period. The Cavaliers scored 22 points during the second period for a 33-16 lead at the break.
Davis scored 12 of his team-high 15 points during the first half. Michael Bowman was the Cavaliers' top scorer in the half with eight points.
The third quarter opened much like the second period with the Cavaliers' defense producing much of their offense off turnovers. Davis cut North Rowan's lead to 39-19 with his final three-pointer at the 5:31 mark. Senior Landon Auman picked up a pair of buckets near the end of the period as North Rowan took a 45-23 lead into the final frame.
The Mustangs managed seven points in the fourth quarter, while the Cavaliers scored 11 points for the final margin. Davis led the Mustangs (8-8, 5-4 conference) with 15 points, followed by Auman with nine points. Ford was the top scorer for the Cavaliers (13-3, 9-0) with 15 points followed by West with 14 points.
After playing Chatham Central Thursday, the Mustangs host South Davidson tonight (Friday) with the girls' game scheduled to start at 6 p.m. followed by the boys' game.
North Rowan 11 22 12 11 - 56
North Moore 8 8 7 7 - 30
North Rowan: Ford 5 5-8 15, West 6 1-4 14, Bowman 3 2-2 8, Sanders 3 0-0 6, Bates 2 0-0 5, Handy 2 0-0 4, Nelson 0 3-4 3, Walker 0 1-2 1. Totals 21 12-20 56
North Moore: Davis 5 1-2 15, Auman 4 1-3 9, Bullard 1 0-0 2, Herron 1 0-0 2, Hunsucker 0 2-2 2. Totals 11 4-7 30.
Three-point goals: NR 2 (West, Bates); NM 4 (Davis 4).
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