BEAR CREEK — Michael Moore not only reached a career milestone Friday night in points scored, but his jumper off the left baseline in the closing seconds proved to be the difference as Chatham …
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BEAR CREEK — Michael Moore not only reached a career milestone Friday night in points scored, but his jumper off the left baseline in the closing seconds proved to be the difference as Chatham Central managed to hold off a young but talented North Stanly team to collect a hard-earned 53-52 Yadkin Valley 1A Conference win over the Comets in Gerald L. Binkley Gymnasium.
Posting their fifth victory in a row, the Bears improved to 6-0 in the league standings and 11-3 overall, whereas North Stanly fell to 4-3 in the conference and 7-7 for the year.
Moore finished the evening with 26 points, including the 1,000th of his career on a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first half. The 6’3” junior became the first Chatham Central player to reach that plateau since Matt Morgan accomplished the feat three years ago, and with his current total of 1,012 points Moore now ranks ninth on the Bears’ all-time scoring list.
Nic Wilson and Lucas Skertich contributed nine points apiece for Chatham Central, which connected on 36 percent (19-of-53) of its field goal attempts while only committing eight turnovers.
Koby Poole tossed in 18 points and Dyson Bell chipped in 17 for the Comets, who shot 38 percent (20-of-52) from the floor and held a 38-33 rebound advantage but turned the ball over 16 times.
“This was a great win for us considering we didn’t shoot well but managed to keep the game close,” remarked Bears’ coach Robert Burke.
“North Stanly really tried to force a fast pace but I thought we did a better job slowing them down the second half. Our point guards (Skertich and Riley Lagenor) handled North Stanly’s ball pressure quite well and were a big reason we had so few turnovers. And although Micah Gurley didn’t score, he helped us out with some huge minutes around the boards with his rebounding and blocking shots. I can’t say enough about Michael getting his 1000th point tonight, then hitting the game-winning shot with time running out. He’s the guy who wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game and can make things happen.”
Comets’ coach Todd Helms stated missed free throws and turnovers were two big factors affecting the outcome.
“In a close game every point counts, and we missed 13 attempts from the line tonight,” said Helms. “Turnovers in the first half also hurt, but it’s part of the learning curve when you start four sophomores and one junior. We tried to press on defense the entire game, and switching from a 3-2 zone to man-to-man coverage later on worked to our benefit. We knew they would get the ball in Moore’s hands at the end, but we just weren’t able to contest his shot.”
Following a pair of early ties, North Stanly used Bell’s conventional three-point play and Poole’s trey from behind the top of the key to forge a 10-4 advantage with 5:07 left in the initial period, but with Moore tallying nine points in the stanza Chatham Central pulled within 16-14 after one quarter.
No more than two points separated the teams throughout the second frame that featured five ties until Moore’s three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Bears a 29-26 lead at the break.
Chatham Central opened up a 36-28 advantage on Moore’s trey from the right wing with 5:25 remaining in the third stanza before the Comets rallied behind Poole and Bell to trim the gap to 43-39 heading into the final eight minutes.
After the Bears stretched their lead to 49-44 on a pair of Moore charity tosses with 3:53 to go in the game, the Comets capped off a 6-0 run with Bell’s layup that put the visitors up by one with 1:33 left.
A Moore jumper from the left wing was then answered by Bell’s turnaround bucket in the lane, keeping North Stanly’s advantage at one (52-51) with 24 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Chatham Central worked for one last shot, with Moore eventually slipping behind a double screen on the left side and firing up his game-winner with four seconds on the clock.
Gurley then secured the triumph when he intercepted the Comet’s court-length inbounds pass under North Stanly’s basket.