MOORE — When the Moore Lions took the court Saturday, they thought their biggest strength would be their quickness and tenacity. However, after two hours of facing Redemption Christian Home School Academy in the championship of the 38th Annual John Nobles Basketball Tournament, it was their composure that stood head and shoulders above the rest.
The Lions defeated the Pride 73-61 to win the tourney title in a game that saw 10 technical fouls called and two ejections. The bulk belonging to RCHA.
“I saw discipline,” Moore coach Aaron Howell said. “I saw character. And I saw us go home with the championship.”
Moore held a 68-59 advantage with 1:51 left in the game. The Pride’s Khadeem Lattin was fouled and went to the line with a chance to cut into the lead. He missed his attempt and Moore got the ball back.
As time began to run out on the game, Pride guard Bijan Johnson was ejected form the game by the referee after using profanity. The ensuing technical put the Lions up by 10. RCHA was never able to respond.
Moore’s Brayden Powell put an exclamation point on the game when he drove past Lattin for a powerful dunk. Lattin came back and got his own dunk, but it was too late. Lattin threw an elbow, according to the refs, and was handed his second technical. He was ejected from the game as Moore fans screamed down angry words at him.
It didn’t matter because the Lions were in control and cruised to victory over the final minute.
“We just didn’t handle ourselves with composure,” Pride coach Ed Chung said. “We know better. They’re coached to do a lot differently than that. More often than not we’re in difficult circumstances. We play in hostile environments. But we certainly didn’t help ourselves any. But it’s part of the growing process.”