Moore’s late free throws sends Hokes Bluff past Southside in county tournament championship

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By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

For the first 31 minutes and 58 seconds of the 2015 Etowah County basketball tournament boys championship game on Jan. 23, Hokes Bluff and Southside played dead even. 

The contest was tied at 37-37 with two seconds remaining when the Eagles’ Kaden Moore took a foul shot in the paint. 

The ball hit the front of the rim, but Moore was fouled on the play. The tournament MVP again visited to the free throw line and calmly hit both shots to give the Eagles (17-6) a 39-37 win and their second straight county title at Gadsden State. 

A desperation shot by Southside (11-12) at the buzzer was short and off the mark.

Moore finished the night with a game-high 15 points whole adding 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Brack Shields added 12 points for Hokes Bluff. 

“I just can’t say enough about this team,” said Hokes Bluff coach Jeff Noah. “We learn from our mistakes and failures. We play loose and play together. We play an aggressive defense and give ourselves a chance to win.” 

After Southside’s Jace Lee scored the game’s first points, Moore led a furious 12-2 run that gave the Eagles a 12-4 lead. 

Taylor Gidley hit a 3-point basket to draw the Panthers within 12-7 at the end of the first quarter. 

The second period was a defensive struggle, with Hokes Bluff out-scoring Southside 9-8 to take a 21-15 lead at the half.

The third quarter saw the game tighten up, with Southside outscoring Hokes Bluff 13-7 to tie the score at 28-28 heading into the final eight minutes. 

With Southside intent on keeping the ball away from Moore, the Eagles’ Brack Shields scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to keep the game close, including a pair of huge 3-pointers in the game final two minutes.

With Hokes Bluff leading 37-36 with 35 seconds to go, Dalton Harris’ basket tied the game at 37-37, a score that eventually set up Moore’s heroics. 

Harris and Saige Benson each scored 11 points for the Panthers.

“I am proud of our guys,” said Southside coach Chad Holderfield. “We started out slow but battled back. Give credit to Hokes Bluff; they’re a good team and well coached.”

Joining Moore on the All-Tournament team were Shields, Phillip Ward and David Franklin from Hokes Bluff; Benson, Harris and Gidley from Southside; Jaxon Haygood and Jesse Hubbard from Sardis; Garrison Clowdus and Pace Ozmint from Glencoe; Hunter Tarvin from West End; and Albert Douglas from Gaston. 

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