OLIN—Mooresville (4-5) staged a second-half comeback and advanced to the final of the Iredell County Hall of Fame Classic in the process with a 53-51 win over longtime rival Lake Norman (6-3) Friday night.
The Wildcats ended the first half on a strong note after three of Zach Schulz’s game-high 22 came as the halftime buzzer sounded, giving Lake Norman a 30-21 lead.
Down by 9 with momentum on Lake Norman’s side, Mooresville head coach Michael Micklow said he made it clear at halftime his team had to step up defensively if they wanted to move on to Saturday’s final.
“We just have to lock in on defense and finish,” Micklow said to his team at the half. “I thought in the first half we had opportunities but they were just taking the ball from us. We said this is a man’s game and we have to step up and be men and that was the difference.”
Whatever Micklow said at the half reignited his team as the Blue Devils were able to regroup and come out strong in the third quarter, finishing the quarter on a 13-4 run to take their first lead of the game 45-43 heading into the fourth. They held the Wildcats to 13 points in the third quarter.
The two rivals traded punches in the fourth quarter, exchanging leads multiple times. But it was Mooresville that pulled ahead 50-49 with 3:07 remaining.
With the score still 50-49 with 1:49 remaining, both teams missed front-ends of 1-and-1 free throws. After a missed layup by Lake Norman, Mooresville found themselves back at the line, this time for two.
Glenwood Robinson hit one of two to give the Blue Devils a two-point lead.
But on the next possession, Mooresville fouled Lake Norman guard Zane Haglan. The senior would hit both of his free throws to knot the game once again at 51-51 with 29 seconds left.
After a timeout by Mooresville to draw up a play, senior guard and captain Griffin White (15 points) drove to the bucket for a contested layup. White’s layup attempt fell through the net for what would be the game-winning bucket with 6.8 seconds left to give Mooresville a 53-51 lead. Micklow said Griffin was huge for the Blue Devils tonight.
“Griffin White played his butt off,” Micklow said.
Two steals by Mooresville in the final 6.8 seconds sealed the deal and put the Blue Devils in the championship game for the first time in program history. This is only the second year Mooresville has competed in the county holiday tournament.
The Blue Devils will face off with No. 2 South Iredell Saturday night at 7:30 with the Iredell County Hall of Fame Classic title on the line. South Iredell is looking to avenge last year’s loss in the final to Lake Norman.
Micklow said his team will have to be locked in on both ends to beat the Vikings.
“We just have to lock in and play defense,” Micklow said. “That’s the bottom line. Everyone has to cheer for one another. It has to be a total team effort. South is a great team and well coached so we just got to make sure we bring our best.”
Mooresville 11 10 24 8—53
Lake Norman 16 14 13 8—51
Mooresville(53)—Griffin White 15, Glenwood Robinson 11, Aj Stewart 10, Sky Smith 9, Conner Mort 6, Lamont Thornton 2
Lake Norman(51)—Zach Schulz 22, Zane Haglan 8, Jack Edmonson 8, Reese Rossi 5, Jonas Courtney 4, Grey Welsh 3, Dan Davidson 1