By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
Tripp Fuller scored 21 points to lead Westmoore (3-2) in a 66-51 comeback victory over Southmoore Tuesday at WMH.
"It's always a big win to beat a cross-town rival like Southmoore," Fuller said. "It feels good. I am not going to lie."
Despite playing on the road, it was Southmoore who started the game full of adrenaline and excitement. Braydon Powell was able to get deep post position and have his way early with the Jaguars front line as the Cats led 18-8 in the first quarter.
"I think it was just nerves," Fuller said. "We had to get the pre-game jitters out of the way and get going
But the second quarter belong to Westmoore's trio of Dillion Thompson, Fuller and Trey Ayala as they turned the game around and went into halftime tied at 26-26.
The momentum stayed with the Jaguars into the third quarter as they continued to attack the SaberCats' defense. Powell had blocked several shots in the first half and forced them into a perimeter team. But that changed as they challenged Powell and the rest of the Cats big men.
The SaberCats offense broke down in the second half as Westmoore took away everything inside. Southmoore settled for long jumpers and were unable to connect.
"When they went zone, we just quit attacking and were walking around," Southmoore coach Wes Brown said. "Couldn’t get people in the right places. We played right into their hands the last three quarters. It just snowballed."
Westmoore turned Southmoore's missed shots and turnovers into transition baskets. This was punctuated midway through the fourth when Ayala got loose for a fastbreak opportunity and hammered down a dunk on Dominique Caster that caused the home fans to erupt and give the Jags a 57-40 lead.
"It was my first dunk in a game," Ayala said. "So I felt amazing. When I heard the crowd start yelling, that got me pumped up. I had chills and everything. I saw him coming. I just thought it in my head, just dunk it. He usually blocks people's shots. He isn't getting this so I just dunked it."
Ayala then added a 3-pointer from 30-feet out that seemed to take the steam out of the Cats. Westmoore cruised the rest of the way.
"This team, they were arguing with each other, griping at each other," Brown said of his SaberCats. "We pulled apart at the seams when thing got going tough. We have some work to do as far as pulling back together, supporting each other, not being selfish, not just wanting playing time. The team has got to get better."
Powell led the Cat with 11 points. Logan Smith added 10.
Thompson scored 16 and Ayala posted 15.
"It's awesome to play in front of these fans," Fuller said "It was great to see Trey and Dillion get some dunks on some people. I wish I would have got mine."