Moore Provides Spark in Win Over S4G

Late in the first half of Saturday’s basketball game against visiting Shooting 4 Greatness Academy, the Sandhills Flyers’ D’Angelo Harris passed the ball in transition across the court for the purpose of setting up a racing Luke Moore for an alley-oop dunk.

In mid-air now, Moore had to awkwardly reach away from the basket to grab the ball before somehow winging his way back toward the hoop for a spectacular flush. Then he sped the other way to block an S4G shot. Leading by just four points at the time, the crowd continued to buzz during most of an 8-2 run that helped put the home team back in control.

“I enjoy it when it’s more of a challenge,” the 6-foot-6 freshman said about dunking the ball. “I had to really stretch out to get that one.”

The Flyers (17-5) turned back a late S4G rally and went on to grab a 95-90 victory. Playing in just his sixth game of the season, Moore put together a break-through performance that included 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 14 minutes of action. He missed only one of his seven shots and was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.

“Luke is starting to figure it out,” Flyers’ assistant coach Tony Chapman said of the product of Carolina Christian. “He’s getting blocked shots, he’s a good shooter and obviously he’s a good leaper. As he figures it out even more he’s going to be even more valuable going forward.”

Josh Smith got the Flyers off to a fast start with three treys in the first two minutes of the game and finished with 17 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Jeremias Easterling, 10 points and 15 boards, and Mason Harrell, 10 and 12, both posted double-doubles. Harris was the assist leader with six. Tyreek Price poured in 31 points and made seven treys for the visitors.

Next for head coach Mike Apple’s squad is a 7 p.m. home game against the Methodist junior varsity on Friday.

Smith and Shane Garrison combined to score 17 points and the Flyers did not miss a shot in the first four minutes while jumping out to a 19-5 lead.

“My guys are young and we came out flat and were kind of shell-shocked,” Kyle Solomon, the coach and founder of S4G, said. “It’s the energy level they (Flyers) bring and they don’t stop. So we had to fight uphill all day long.”

But S4G regrouped nicely and responded with a 14-0 run to tie the score when Moore made his first appearance and drained a pair of threes to help restore an eight-point advantage. His second turn, that included the dunk, contributed to the Flyers’ 53-44 lead at the intermission,

The squad from Raleigh had rallied again to close the gap to 69-64 when two put-backs in a row by Harrell, and an assist by the 6-8 freshman for a basket by Eric Field, helped build back a double-digit lead. Later another dunk by Moore made it 91-80 with four minutes remaining before the visitors made things a little bit uncomfortable down the stretch.

Apple appreciated the way his team pushed the ball, but was not pleased overall with his team’s defense or rebounding. Hanging on the wall in his office is a framed picture of a dunk by Raheem Washington who was a member of the 2012 national championship squad.

“We might have another one to put up,” he said, alluding to Moore’s first half gem. “Luke kind of showed everybody what he can do. Today was a good confidence booster for him.”

Flyer notes – The Flyer double-doubles were the 12th of the season by Easterling (23rd career) and eighth by Harrell. Apple appreciated Solomon agreeing to play the Flyers on just four days notice when Saturday’s originally scheduled opponent withdrew. “I was impressed with his squad,” Apple said. The large matinee crowd was treated to a halftime performance of basketball drills by 20 members of the Mini-Hoopers. The five-to-10 year-old boys and girls are part of the Haarlow Hoops Academy led by O’Neal School graduate Jeff Haarlow. Haarlow was a college head coach for 12 years at Berry College in Georgia and Tennessee Temple University before starting the program. “Jeff does a great job and anytime someone invests in the young people in our community it’s a big deal,” SCC athletic director Aaron Denton said. “I hope it was a good experience for the kids. It added a ton to our game.”

S4G – Price 10 4-4 31, Mattress 8 2-10 18, Burress 2 3-5 7, Humphries 4 2-3 12, Cheeks 4 1-4 9, Carroll 5 0-1 10, Ologbenla 1 0-0 3, Williams 0 0-0 0 Totals 34 12-27 90. Sandhills – Lathan 2 3-4 7, Harris 2 1-4 5, Smith 7 0-0 17, Easterling 4 2-6 10, Garrison 4 2-5 10, Liluashvili 5 3-3 14, Moore 6 0-0 16, Field 2 2-2 6, Harrell 4 2-4 10, Childs 0 0-0 0, McCrimmon 0 0-0 0, McFadden 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0 Totals 36 15-28 96. Three-point goals: S4G 10 (Price 7, Humphries 2, Silvester); SCC 8 (Moore 4, Smith 3, Liluashvili).

By Charlie Bergmann


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