By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — When Moore has it going, it’s a hard team to stop. With its hyper-frenzied offense and constant pressure defense, it can easily overwhelm opposing teams.
That was the case Friday in the semifinals of the John Nobles Invitational Tournament. Facing Lawton High, the Lions came at them with wave after wave of body blows before knocking the Wolverines out 89-67 at Moore High.
“When we are playing like that, we are real tough,” senior Maurice Davenport said. “We can beat the No. 1 team in the state. We just have to play together as a team.”
The Lions will get that chance when it faces No. 1 Bishop McGuiness (Class 5A) at 8:30 p.m. today in the tournament championship. The Irish had to hold off Capital Hill in the first semifinal of the night. But the players know exactly what type of challenge they will be faced with.
“We just have to come out with the same intensity we had today,” Davenport said. “We can’t slack off because they are 5A. Act like it’s a 6A team and come in here with the same intensity.”
The Lions started the game raining down 3-pointers from all over the court. Derek Toles and Davenport were especially hot from the outside.
When the Wolverines raced to cover them on the 3-point line, that left wide open lanes for the Moore guards to drive for easy layups.
Dorian Gigger and Braydon Powell manned the defensive paint and tried to swat out every shot that came into their area. This led to easy fastbreak opportunities for the rest of the team.
“Me and Braydon just tried our best to rebound everything,” Gigger said. “We have been working hard, getting our chemistry together. Both of us can block shots and alter shots. Every time you come inside, you have to think twice about it.”
But Gigger also found ways to help his team offensively with putbacks and strong moves into the paint. That included catching a two-handed alley-oop in the third quarter from Toles that brought the entire MHS bench to its feet.
“It was pretty cool. Me and Derek work on it a lot,” Gigger said. “It just excites the crowd and gets us going even more on defense.”
Moore took a 71-50 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Lawton’s Tevin Foster scored 21 in the losing cause. He was the one bright spot for LHS.
The Lions had four score in double figures. Gigger led the way with 19 points and Davenport added 18.
“It’’s a good feeling to see everybody going,” Toles said. “It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Girls — Southmoore 44, Choctaw 40: After trailing for much of the night, the SaberCats grabbed a 38-35 lead with three minutes left in the contest. They then tried to stall the ball by having Kayla Tucker just dribble at the top of the key. They wound up turning the ball over, and Choctaw came down and got two free throws to cut deficit to one.
Cyndi Williams hit a pair of free throws with 1:14 left and the ’Cats led 40-37. Kyeria Hannah came up with a steal and the Yellow Jackets were forced to foul Tucker. She drained both free throws.
However, Sadie Marino came down and drained a trey from the top of the key with 18 seconds on the clock to cut lead down to 42-40. But Tucker was fouled and once again hit both free throws to put the game away.
Sydney Wyatt paced Choctaw with 11 points. Kiyra Baird and Addie Vernon each had 10.
Serithia Hawkins led all scorers with 13. Tucker added 10, including going 6 for 6 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
No. 4 Southmoore will face off with No. 6 Muskogee in JNIT championship at 7 p.m.
“We need to work as hard as we did the last three minutes against Choctaw,” Tucker said. “We just really need to be able to put the ball in the basket. As long as we work hard and keep them from scoring, I think we will be fine.”
Muskogee 73, Eisenhower 52
The Eagles stayed close in the first quarter as Crystal Polk and Nikki Smith were able to control the backboards and put back offensive rebounds.
But the Roughers Alexus Wilson and Kelsey McClure took the game in the second quarter. Their pressure defense against the smaller EHS guards turned into transition points.
McClure had a game high 25 points and Wilson added 17. Smith led the Eagles with 21.