Behind another dominant performance by sophomore stud Michael Moreno, No. 2 Scott County knocked off No. 17 Southwestern 89-81 in the Jock Sutherland Classic at Lafayette on Saturday for its seventh straight win.
All five starters scored double figures as the Cardinals’ won their fourth game of the season over teams currently in the top-25 of the Cantrall Rankings.
Moreno dropped 35 points and nine rebounds on Southwestern, one night after scoring 29 and grabbing 10 boards in a road victory over Henry Clay.
“Once again Michael was just being Michael,” Scott County head coach Billy Hicks said. “He just gives us something nobody else has. He’s a heck of a player.”
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Moreno dueled with Southwestern guard Peyton Gover in the closing minutes of the second quarter. After a Moreno drive and layup gave the Cardinals a 28-21 lead, Gover knocked down a three-pointer then converted an and-one on the next Warriors possession to cut the lead to one. Moreno responded with seven points to close out the half and give the Cardinals a 43-35 lead.
Gover led the Warriors with 28 points, knocking down six of 13 shots from behind the arc. But the Cardinals held the senior guard to 2-for-9 from the field in the second half as they seemed to hit a near gear.
“We’ve kind of turned into a second-half team, which isn’t always a good thing,” Moreno said. “But we always seem to come out of the locker room energized and ready to go and that energy really helped us because after it being a back and forth game we were able to turn up our defense.”
Scott County nearly put the game out of reach in the third quarter, ripping off a 14-0 run that included four made free throws by Cooper Robb after Southwestern drew two technical fouls for arguing with the refs.
The Cardinals flexed their muscle in the post throughout the third quarter on their way to a 71-49 lead. If it wasn’t Moreno exploiting mismatches for nine points in the period, it was his fellow forward Cooper Watts doing dirty work in the paint. Watts finished with a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with 14 points for his fifth-straight double-double.
“Cooper’s just a phenomenal rebounder,” said Moreno. “He’s a stud in the paint and he’s versatile. And he’s probably our most athletic guy.”
Scott County dominated the rebound battle 44-30 and outscored the Warriors 48-12 in the paint.
“We knew we had mismatches in the post with Michael and Cooper (Watts),” Robb said. “So we just had to keep pounding it down there to them and they went to work.”
Southwestern closed the game on a 12-1 run after the Cardinals’ starters went to the bench with two minutes to play. As the Warriors’ full-court press kept forcing turnovers, Hicks said he nearly pressed the starters back into action.
“It was real tempting to send them back in,” he said. “But it was great experience for our young kids to go against their starters for a bit.”
Hicks said the Cardinals have the look of a contender heading down the season’s backstretch.
“I really like where we are. We just have to avoid injuries and keep working hard and I think we can do some big things,” he said. “Everything seems to be coming together at the right time. It’s all falling into place.”
Lafayette holds off Scott
Sophomore guard Evan Dreux knocked down a shot with seven seconds left and Jake Ohmer’s answer at the buzzer fell short as Lafayette held off a furious rally to top Covington Scott 73-71 in the second game of the Jock Sutherland Classic.
Trailing 71-61 with two minutes to play, the Eagles scored eight unanswered before Dreux’s game-winner.
Eric Powell led the Generals with 15 points while Devonte Hayes chipped in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Ohmer led all scorers with 22 points, five of which came during Scott’s closing rally.
Lafayette’s bench outscored Scott’s 26-8, led by Cameron King’s 14, to help the Generals hang on despite allowing the Eagles to shoot 54 percent from the field, including seven of 14 from three.
SCOTT CO. 89, SOUTHWESTERN 81
Southwestern (20-5) — Gover 28, Floyd 10, Cundiff 7, Cromer 17, Stevens 13, Dykes 6.
Scott Co. (20-5) — Fluker 2, Long 10, Tucker 2, Robb 10, G. Covington 3, Hamilton 1, Moreno 35, Williams 12, Watts 14.
LAFAYETTE 73, COVINGTON SCOTT 71
Scott (15-9) — C. Ohmer 17, J. Ohmer 22, Jolly 5, Meister 2, Perrin 6, Pouncy 13, Dumlao 2, Dixon 1, Pusateri 3.
Lafayette (13-13) — Powell 15, King 14, Greenup 2, Carpenter 11, Dreux 13, Wharton 6, Hayes 12.