Moir Christmas Classic Notebook
From staff reports
The Moir notebook …
The Sam Moir Christmas Classic setup allows some teams to play three games while others only play two.
An eighth team could solve the problem, and don’t think tournament director Dennis Davidson hasn’t mulled it over.
“We’re leaning that way,” Davidson said Tuesday. “Everybody would get three games that way. It would be a four-day event next year.”
There is a no-brainer to fill that spot: A.L. Brown. Davidson said Wonders boys coach Shelwyn Klutz has even called to inquire about getting in.
The Cabarrus County tournament stopped two years ago. Even before that, Klutz was enamored with the Moir.
When asked if he was interested in becoming that eighth team, Klutz exclaimed, “Oh my goodness. It’s the best-run tournament around. It would be an honor to play in it with all that tradition. And it’s close to home. It would be a win-win situation for us.”
FIRST-DAY RESULTS: Usually, the 7:30 p.m. game each night is the biggest draw. That wasn’t the case Monday.
Davidson said the 1:30 p.m. contest drew the most fans. The boys teams from West and Salisbury played in that one, with Salisbury winning 70-62. Those two have combined for 22 Moir titles.
“It hurt a little that they played at 1:30,” Davidson said, adding that if those two had played at 7:30, “it probably would’ve been packed.”
GIRLS FINAL PREVIEW: Salisbury’s girls will be going for a seventh straight Moir title when they play West Rowan today at 6:30 p.m.
“Our girls have nothing to lose,” West coach Erich Epps said. “Salisbury is a heavy, heavy favorite. As far as I know, they probably already have the trophy in their trophy case. We’ll come out and see if we can compete with them in stretches. We played them earlier and did not compete at all.”
The remark about the trophy was a joke, but the rest was an honest assessment. Salisbury won 61-22 in the first meeting.
The Hornets’ run of Moir dominance started with a 61-60 victory against West in the 2003 championship game. Senior guard Bubbles Phifer is on the verge of a fourth title in four years as a varsity standout.
Salisbury coach Andrew Mitchell said his players don’t take their success for granted.
“To think Bubbles has played in four Christmas tournaments, you would never know. It’s like it’s her first one,” Mitchell said. “Everybody is just upbeat and positive. We’re all excited about the possibility of trying to win another championship.”
THIRD-PLACE AT STAKE: Carson’s girls opened the season with a 61-34 loss against Davie County, and a rematch will occur in the third-place game today at 3 p.m.
“We’re much-improved from then, and we have a point to prove,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “We’ll have to take care of the ball against them, beat their press and just execute offensively.”
BENCH MARK: Nine different Salisbury girls scored in the win against Carson. Doreen Richardson led the reserves with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, and Isis Miller grabbed six rebounds. She also had three blocks in 17 minutes.
“Our bench players are starting to come around and know what we’re looking for,” Mitchell said.
BIG SHOTS: West reserve Ashley Dutton entered Tuesday’s semifinal game with three points for the season ó and they all came in an early win against Northwest Cabarrus.
After going scoreless in five straight contests, Dutton hit both of her shots against Davie and totaled four points. Her jumper with 3:35 left gave West a 52-43 lead.
FAMOUS FAMILY: Davie’s boys were belting East Rowan in the fourth quarter Tuesday when coach Mike Absher put in reserve Lake Slabach.
Slabach’s velvet touch immediately produced two straight 3-pointers.
It wasn’t a surprise. Pure shooters run in the family.
Slabach’s father, Gary, was one of the best shooters in North Davidson history. His mother, the former Angie Browder, was a two-time Moir winner.
As a player at Davie under Bill Peeler, she was the Moir MVP in 1983. As a coach at Davie, her War Eagles won the title in 1993. She even had a 35-point effort while starring at High Point University.
Just for the record, Lake’s little brother Heath, who is in elementary school, might turn out to be the biggest star in the family.
GOOD AND BAD: Although South girls coach Jarrod Smith wasn’t happy about his team going home 0-2, there was a bright spot: jayvee call-up Kaitlyn Jones.
Jones scored six points off the bench in a 50-47 loss to East Rowan on Tuesday.
“She gave us a lot of minutes, hit some shots and showed more leadership than some upperclassmen,” Smith said of his sophomore. “Jones will stay.”
ARMS FOLDED: When South Rowan coach John Davis folds his arms across his chest that’s body language that says he’s not pleased with what he’s seeing.
Davis’ arms stayed folded for the last three quarters of his team’s 59-57 loss to North Rowan in a Tuesday semifinal.
Davis had nothing but good things to say about North Rowan’s team, but he was not happy with an officiating crew that was in a “let ’em play” mode.
South’s offensive philosophy is to get to the foul line, and that’s the bread and butter of its leading scorer, John Davis, the coach’s son.
The younger Davis spent a good deal of time on Tuesday on the floor or pleading his case to officials ó to no avail.
Davis came into the tournament averaging 17.7 points a game, second in the county, with a lot of that production coming at the foul line.
He shoots 120 free throws every day. He’s had a chance to shoot two in two days in the Moir.
But there’s always today.
South plays Carson in the third-place game, the Cougars will be playing man-to-man, and Davis will be driving to the hoop.
NO SYMPATHY: If you’re a Davie boys fan, you’re probably grinning reading about South’s struggle to get to the foul line in the semifinals.
South beat Davie 68-50 in a first-round game in which South had five personal fouls for the game. Davie took zero foul shots in that one to tie a tournament record that can’t be broken.
BACKUP PLAN: Salisbury reserves Dejoun Jones, Forrest Wilkins, Corey Murphy, Tyler Petty and Dominique Phillips combined for 32 points in the semifinal win against Carson.
Wilkins hit two 3-pointers, including a 35-footer that beat the third-quarter horn.
“It’s been tough for us to define roles because we haven’t played many games,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “But we’re working them in more and more. We don’t want Darien Rankin to have to play 29 of 32 minutes like he did against West Rowan.”
EXCITED: Causby’s team is favored, but he expects a serious challenge from North Rowan in tonight’s final.
“North’s young, talented and excited,” he said. “They remind me of us two years ago.”
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London and Bret Strelow contributed to the notebook.