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Moore, Hatboro-Horsham outlast CB West for 2OT District 1-6A 1st round win

DOYLESTOWN >> Clifton Moore came oh-so close to finishing things in the first overtime.

When the ball left the Hatboro-Horsham boys basketball senior’s hands on his jumper, it looked poised to deliver the Hatters a last-second win over Central Bucks West. Instead,  it circled around the rim and spun out of the basket, creating the need for another four minutes of play in Friday night’s District 1-6A first round contest.

“I was fully confident I was going to make that shot, just rimmed out,” Moore said. “I just told my teammates you can’t worry about it. I told them, there’s no pressure, there’s no stress. We just got to go out and play your hardest.”

Moore and 21st-seeded Hatboro-Horsham finally earned the win in the second overtime. Two free throws by Moore and a Brandon Crews basket off a drive was enough in the period to outlast the No. 12 Bucks 34-32 and pull off an opening-round upset in districts for a second straight season.

“I know we were always the underdogs but I knew we always had the talent and we just had to figure out the way to bring it together,” Moore said. “Early in the season we had some complications, but somehow, someway, the last season, this season, we (have been) able to bring it together.”

Moore finished a block shy of a triple double – post a game-high 20 points to go along with 13 rebounds and nine blocks as the Hatters (13-10) advanced to a second-round matchup with fifth-seeded North Penn Tuesday. The Knights had a bye in the first round.

“He really played well tonight,” said Hatboro-Horsham coach Ed Enoch of Moore. “He stepped up and carried us.”

Tuesday’s winner clinches a berth in the PIAA Tournament, while the losing team has to go through 9th/10th place playbacks to earn a spot in states.

“We’re a good basketball team. I think we’ve kind of underachieved all year” Enoch said. “And we’ve played with a lot of teams, we’ve had leads late in the game and just didn’t finish off the games. Tonight we did.”

Crews added nine points for Hatboro-Horsham, who last year as the 25th seed in the 4A tournament knocked off No. 8 Strath Haven. The Hatters held CB West to just 11 points in the final 24 minutes – including shutting out the Bucks 6-0 in the third quarter.

“We’re getting better defensively, we really are. That’s one thing that I’m happy about, especially this time of the year,” Enoch said. “We’re getting more stops and rebounding the ball better. I don’t know what the totals were, but I’m pretty sure we held our own if not outrebounded them tonight.”

Shane McCusker’s 10 points paced the Bucks (15-8), who came into the postseason on a six-game win streak. West was looking to reach the second round in back-to-back years, but instead was upset in its opening district game for the second time in three years – falling as an eighth seed to No. 25 Great Valley in 2015.

“It’s unfortunate. This group they really, really worked hard this offseason,” CB West coach Adam Sherman said. “For them to go 15-8 considering we had one kid with major varsity experience last year, pretty proud of this group.

“They were probably the least experienced team in our (conference) and they came back this year, they came back this and finished in second place. They did a lot of special things. Unfortunately they didn’t win this one, but they got a lot to be proud of.”

Moore gave Hatboro-Horsham the lead for good in the second OT with his two foul shots at 3:36. Jake Schalki missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at 1:40, but grabbed the rebound and on the ensuing possession, Crews drove in to make it 34-30 Hatters.

McCusker hit a jumper at 38.5 seconds, cutting the margin down to two. Moore was sent to the line at 36.5 seconds and missed both, giving the Bucks the chance for the tie or win.

West, however, never got up a shot. Jake Reichwein – while  falling down trying to squeeze down the lane – tried to pass in the last few seconds, but the loose ball was snagged by Schalki, who gave to Moore – the Indiana commit tossing it in the air with the clock at 0:00 to celebrate the win.

“Moore was controlling the lane and doing a good job and we just didn’t do a good job of exploiting him from being in the lane where we didn’t take advantage of the perimeter,” Sherman said. “We had opportunities to, open chances on the perimeter, we just didn’t make them. We had enough open (looks), we make two of those shots, different game.”

The Bucks had a chance to win in regulation. Tied 28-28, West run down the clock and after not getting a good look called time out with 3.2 seconds left. Off a sideline inbounds, McCusker put up a long 3-point try, but it went left of the basket and the teams headed to OT.

Jack Traina got a shot past Moore on a drive to put West up 30-28 in the first extra period, but Moore hit a baseline hook shot to pull the Hatters level. Both sides missed tiebreaking threes in the final minute. With 16.4 seconds left, Hatboro-Horsham had the last possession, with Moore’s jumper finding a way not to drop.

Central Bucks West ended the first quarter with a 12-0 run – two free throws by Collin MacAdams putting the Bucks up 12-2 after eight minutes.

Moore scored on a drive as was fouled at 7:06 in the second quarter while Schalki’s three put play had the Hatters within 12-7 at 6:30.

West twice pushed its advantage back to eight – the last at 19-11 –but Moore collected the last of his eight points in the quarter with a one-handed jam to make it 19-15. MacAdams’ basket off a backdoor screen had the Bucks up 21-15 at the break.

In the third, the combination of Moore shot-blocking and West going cold from outside resulted in the Bucks being shutout in the quarter. A Crews jumper in the lane had the Hatters level 21-21 entering the fourth.

“We knew on offense we’re kind of struggling so we had to pick it up on defense,” Moore said. “We just trusted our defense. We had a scouting report and we just switched, switched off screens.”

Crews’ three-point play off a steal with 4:41 left in the final period had the Hatters up 27-25, their first lead since 2-0. West went back ahead 28-27 after a McCusker three. A Moore free throw at 4:09 tied the contest at 28 and was the last point of regulation.

A steal by McCusker gave the Bucks the ball with just less than two minutes to go in regulation, but West’s only shot for the win came on McCusker’s 3-pointer attempt at the buzzer.

Hatboro-Horsham 34, Central Bucks West 32 (2OT)
Hatboro-Horsham 2 13 6 7 2 4 – 34
Central Bucks West 12 9 0 7 2 2 – 32
Hatboro-Horsham: Clifton Moore 8 4-8 20; Brandon Crews 4 1-1 9; Jake Schalki 1 1-2 3; Jay Davis 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 6-11 34.
Central Bucks West: Shane McCusker 4 0-0 10; Collin MacAdams 2 2-3 6; Jake Reichwein 3 0-0 6; Jack Traina 2 0-0 5; Liam Cooney 1 0-0 3; Jack Mulhearn 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 4-5 32.
3-pointers: CBW-McCusker 2, Cooney, Traina.

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