MOORE — Moore could have picked an easier opponent to take on in the first round of its own tournament. But in Lawton High they took on a team that resembled their style of play and tenacity to fight to the end.
Despite that, it was the Lions who came away with a 62-58 victory over the Wolverines in Thursday’s first round of the John Noble Tournament at Moore High.
“I think I saw a lot more team work,” Moore coach Aaron Howell said. “We had some guys who don’t normally get a lot of minutes who had to take those minutes today. I think they stepped in well. We’ve been practicing for a long time and we know what we have to do. Accept your role and let’s get it done.”
With 3:37 left in the game, Lawton’s Darryel Patterson hit two free throws to bring the Wolverines within seven of Moore. But Jaylen Wilson came back down and drained a 3-pointer for the Lions. LHS threw the ball away on their next possession.
After another LHS rally, MHS only led 60-56 with 2:10 left.
Moore tried to run out the clock, but threw the ball away and the Wolverines took over with 53.9 seconds on the clock. After a mad scramble that saw the ball change possession three times, Lawton’s Darius Martin came up with the loose ball layup. Moore led 60-58.
Instead of running the clock out, Moore’s Diontre Cutliff went in for a layup and had it swatted out by Chris Deck. Lawton had the ball with a chance to tie, but Dakari Moss attempted a 3-pointer from the corner that was off the mark. The Lions came up with the rebound and drove the court for a bucket as the buzzer sounded.
“We held up good enough to take the win,” Howell said. “We will always take the win. But I think they know and understand we didn’t play well. We have some things they have to finish up on.”