By Rob Williams
For the Monroe Journal
MOOREVILLE – For most of this season, Queshod Young has been looking for some scoring help in the Aberdeen Bulldogs basketball team. On Thursday night at Mooreville, Young got scoring help from Josh Smith and Tramonte Prather, both with double figures. However, it was a last-second decision by Young that gave Prather the ball for the game-winning shot and the 58-57 victory.
Smith got the Bulldogs started, and a three by Jordan Gillespie a few seconds later put Aberdeen ahead at 5-2.
The Troopers tied the game and slowly pulled out in front to lead 17-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Smith scored four quick points in the opening minutes of the second period to get the Dawgs back to within a point at 18-17.
Jerrick Orr hit Prather on a breakaway to put the Bulldogs back in front, but the Troopers fought back to a 25-22 advantage with 1:20 left in the first half. Prather was fouled trying to put a rebound back and hit both free throws. Orr scored on a breakaway, and Prather took a steal to the hoop to give Aberdeen a 27-23 lead at the half.
Smith scored first in the second half, but the Troopers scored the next five to get within a basket at 29-27 over the next two minutes. The team traded shot for shot the rest of the period, until Payton McCord nailed a three at the buzzer and added a free throw for a four-point play to send the game into the final period tied at 39.
In the final period, one team would go up by three, and the other team would catch up. This continued until the :45 mark when McCord hit another three to put Mooreville up 57-56.
Mooreville's Jay Cee Horn had an opportunity to extend the lead with 20 seconds remaining, but missed both free throws to leave the Troopers ahead by one. The rebound after the second miss was knocked out of bounds by Mooreville, giving the Bulldogs an inbound under the Trooper goal.
The Troopers had done an outstanding job the entire game, keeping the ball away from Young. Each time the ball was in Bulldogs possession, the cry, "find 20 (Young)" could be heard from the Mooreville players.
“When they were keeping the ball away from me, Coach Rankin told me not to get frustrated," Young said. “He kept telling me to be patient and let the game come to me."
Even under those circumstances, everybody in the gym knew the ball would be in Young's hand for the final shot. Young brought the ball into the Bulldogs' end and drove into the lane. "From the time we threw the ball in, all I was thinking was I've got to score," Young said. "When I drove into the lane and spun to the basket, there were two Mooreville defenders in front of me. My mind was still saying score, score, score. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Prather standing under the goal and I just dumped the ball off to him."
The play caught the Mooreville defense, and everybody else in the gym, completely by surprise and left Prather with a wide-open layup to put the Bulldogs on top.
Mooreville called timeout with 3.6 seconds on the clock, but time ran out before the team could get a shot off giving the Bulldogs a 58-57 win.
"This was a very big win for us," Aberdeen coach Jaworski Rankin said. "We overcame a lot of adversity, and I am proud of our guys for keeping it together. This win puts us in a three-way tie for first place in our division."
Young was the leading scorer in the game with 19 points. Prather was right behind with 15, and Smith added 10.
McCord led Mooreville with 17.
(G) Mooreville 47, Aberdeen 39
With Jasmine Braylock and Tamarah Sykes controlling the boards on both ends of the court in the early going, pulling down rebounds and scoring points, the Lady Bulldogs stayed with three points of Mooreville most of the first half.
Aberdeen trailed 13-10 at the end of the first quarter and led 23-20 at the half.
The Lady Troopers started pulling away, outscoring Aberdeen 17-7 in the third period.
Jakayla Dancy got hot, and the Lady Bulldogs turned the scoring around in the third quarter but fell short 47-39.
Powered by five three-pointers, Erin Jones was the leading scorer with 17 points for Mooreville. Dancy led Aberdeen with nine.
"We have got to play a lot harder," Aberdeen coach Lorenzo Conley said. "Dancy has been in a scoring slump lately, and we are really going to need her for the division tournament."
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