During the Cherokee Invitational boys championship game Saturday, Moore’s motor was running at its peak performance.
Moore scored a game-high 34 points, including four 3-pointers, to go along with 10 rebounds in leading the Class 1A, No. 3 Panthers to a 69-48 victory over Class 4A Cherokee County.
It’s the Panthers’ second straight Cherokee Invitational tournament title. They defeated Chattooga (Ga.) in last year’s tournament final 63-49.
“I just wanted a second championship,” Moore said. “This is a big tournament to me. I just felt confidence in my team that they would rebound if I shot it, so that’s what I did.”
Tidmore said no one’s more deserving than Moore to earn another championship.
“Nobody spends as much time as he does on his game, and people don’t see that,” Tidmore said. “It’s just good to see him have that kind of success. He deserves it.”
Nineteen of Moore’s points came in the first half. He helped the Panthers (10-1) build a 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 38-22 lead at halftime.
The Warriors (3-12) managed to cut Collinsville’s lead to 53-41 at the end of the third quarter, but the Panthers went on a 16-7 run in the fourth for the final.
“We had a problem at the beginning of the year finishing the second half, so that’s what we really focused on,” Moore said. “Centre’s a great team, but we executed our plays, so I guess that’s what got us the victory.”
Tidmore said how the Panthers let leads slip away in the second half was his message to the team at halftime.
“There’s always that time in the second half where we have a lull,” Tidmore said. “Even the loss we had to Hokes Bluff we had a big lead. Sometimes it’s the other team playing really well, but sometimes it’s us helping them. I think they had it in their minds they weren’t going to let that happen.”
Besides Warrior junior guard Tony Pruitt, who led the Warriors with 21 points and 11 rebounds, Cherokee County coach Travis Barnes said his team “just didn’t come ready to play.”
“Tony’s about the only player tonight to have any effort,” Barnes said. “He was trying to get everybody going, but we just didn’t follow him.”
Barnes said he tried to accentuate the positive in Warrior locker room following the loss. The Warriors had won two straight games in the tournament before Saturday’s setback in the final.
“We played two good games and we don’t want this game to leave a sour taste in our mouths,” Barnes said. “We just got out-played and out-coached tonight. I tried to be positive with the guys. I don’t want to go into the (Christmas) break on a negative note. With a loss we are, but I tried to stay positive with the guys, letting them know they did get better during this tournament.”
JoJo Diamond and Josh Higgins both had six points for the Warriors. Nahum Horton finished with five points.
Brady Osborn added 10 points for Collinsville. Davey Posey posted seven points and five assists. David Hernandez finished with six points and six boards.
While thrilled to win another Cherokee Invitational title, Tidmore is hoping it won’t be the last one the Panthers win this season.
“We want to try and become a championship team,” he said. “It’s got to help to win a championship to do that, to see it through from beginning to end. We hope that builds that idea that we can win in that tournament setting, where you have to play two or three days in a row. This is such a competitive tournament with good teams in it. We’re happy to win it again.”
Boys Consolation Game
Glencoe 52, Spring Garden 35
CENTRE – Austin Hancock scored a game-high 16 points to pace the Glencoe Yellow Jackets to a 52-35 victory over Spring Garden in the Cherokee Invitational Tournament consolation game Saturday.
Joseph Fails added nine points for the Yellow Jackets (9-4). Brock Little and Scott Bradley both finished with eight points.
Josh Hale led Spring Garden (8-5) with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals. Logan Whorton netted eight points and grabbed three rebounds for the Panthers.