By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — In a loss to Norman North last week, Moore coach Aaron Howell was not pleased with his team’s defensive effort. After giving up 83 points, he said that was not Lions basketball.
With rival Southmoore in their house Tuesday, Howell recognized his team again in the second half as the Lions rolled through the SaberCats 64-44 on their home court.
“I think the second half we played well,” Howell said. “The first half was very sloppy, no defense, didn’t cause any pressure. The second, they turned it on. The key was the Norman North game. They knew what was going to happen if we didn’t come out and play defense. They knew it was going to be another loss, and I don’t think they were willing to accept that.”
Dorian Gigger racked up 20 points and dominated the game on both ends of the court. With the team playing short handed, it was the type of game Howell expected from him.
The Lions (6-3) played without starting guard Maurice Davenport, who will miss the next two weeks with a strained hip flexor. They were also without Braydon Powell, who just joined the team late last week after moving from the Southmoore school district into Moore. Powell had been a member of the SaberCats (4-3) up until Thursday when he enrolled at Moore.
Even though the Lions were cold from the perimeter to start the night, their offense was still rolling. Facing a smaller ’Cats’ frontcourt, Gigger was able to take advantage in the paint. He was able to grab multiple offensive rebounds and put them back without must resistance.
“The key was be aggressive,” Gigger said. “Go after offensive rebounds. Just call for the ball every time I can get the ball. Just continue to be aggressive.”
Moore led 17-9 to end the first.
Southmoore stormed back into the game using the outside shooting of Preston Smith and Jon Arvin. The ’Cats closed the gap to 29-24 at halftime.
With Powell no longer on their team, the SaberCats didn’t have the post-up game they had fed off of just when it sprinted out to a 3-1 record. They were forced to rely on long jumpshots and drives to the rim, where they were met by the shot-blocking Gigger.
Moore took advantage of the one-dimensional ’Cats in the third as they went on a 16-5 run and went on to lead by 16 heading into the fourth quarter. The ’Cats never got any closer.
Smith led the ’Cats with 14 points. Chelvin Webb added nine.
Dante Butler came off the Moore bench to score 15, and Dezmine Neal chipped in with 12.
Despite the impressive performance against the ’Cats, Gigger is looking forward to seeing how the Lions look when Davenport is healthy and Powell is cleared to play.
“I’m excited because I think we are going to be a lot better team,” Gigger said. “We just have to get it the right way. Get our chemistry right. That’s the main thing. We just have to accept our roles and play the right way.”
Southmoore girls 87, Moore 19: The SaberCats jumped out early to a 19-3 advantage in the first quarter. They kept the pressure on the rest of the night and never let the Lions get into the game.
Four players scored in double figures as they moved to 7-1 on the season. Serithia Hawkins poured in 24 points to lead the way. Senior Kayla Tucker added 16.
Caitlin Hall and Kaylea Massey scored five points each for the Lions, who fell to 1-8 on the season.