(T-G Photo by Jimmy Jones) [Order this photo]
The Lady Patriots developed a sudden case of regular season amnesia and promptly took the floor and gave the Blue and White all they wanted, and then some, in an intensely played contest that was not decided until the final moments after seven lead changes over the course of four quarters.
Moore County emerged the victors 39-31 by picking up six quick points in the final three minutes after Kyleigh Hardy and AJ Mitchell, who dominated the boards and the paint for Liberty, were forced to the bench with five fouls.
The two squads played to a nine-all tie after one period. Moore County held a slim 15-11 advantage at the half.
The Lady Patriots roared back to tie the game and had but were unable to hold the opponent down defensively to find themselves on the wrong end of a 24-17 score going into the fourth quarter.
Sydney Ely led the offensive charge in a physical final frame for Liberty with seven points, aided by baskets by Mitchell and Kendall Durard to complete an impressive comeback. The fiery point guard tied the game 25-all at the 4:26 mark with two free throws after a steal off the press and a drive to the basket resulted in a foul.
Unfortunately, Mitchell and Hardy were whistled for their fifth foul within moments of each other to allow Moore County to retake the advantage with a sudden superior height advantage to take away the second and third chances under the basket for Liberty and reverse their fortune on the other end where they were able to convert offensive rebounds into points to survive and play another day.
Grace Cauble led the Moore County offense with 12 points to tie for game high honors. Sloan Mann added nine.
Ely netted 12 in an impressive display of offense while Hardy contributed eight points to the effort. Durard finished with seven for the Lady Patriots.
Moore Co. (39): Cauble 12, Mann 9, Thomas 7, Castillo 5, Fanning 4, Rainey 2, Holcomb, Logan, F. Cauble.
Liberty: (31) Ely 12, Hardy 8, Durard 7, Mitchell 3, Anthony, Carr, Smartt, Trice.
Halftime: Moore Co. 15, Liberty 11.