Moon wins nail biter at West Allegheny

Preston Moore and Preston Moore

MOON TOWNSHIP — The Moon Tigers traveled to West Allegheny to take on the Indians in both of the teams’ first section game of the year. The game was a back and forth affair and the Tigers ended up on top with an impressive comeback win.

The game started out with a heavy defensive presence on both sides of the court. West Allegheny came out in a 2-3 zone to kick off the game and continued playing as they saw some success in it. Moon came out with their own game plan strategically using full court presses and traps to catch the Indians off guard. The contest did not see its first score until the 6:30 mark where Donovan “Puff” Johnson split the Indians’ zone for the easy layup. Johnson had all of seven of Moon’s points before being subbed out and the bench taking over in the scoring department. The first quarter had five lead changes and ended in the Indians favor, 13-11.

Moon started the second quarter hot going on a 5-0 run thanks to a euro-step layup off a fast break from Connor Ryan and a deep three from Johnson. West Allegheny erased that run with a 5-0 run of their own and eventually took the lead off of a step-back three. Moon tied the game up with a hustle rebound from Connor Ryan and a quick reverse layup. After a bit of a scoring drought from both teams, Moon started to full court press where they forced a couple of turnovers which ultimately led to a Brady Sunday buzzer beater giving Moon the lead at halftime, 24-23.

The third quarter started off as another back and forth where both teams exchanged layups after broken presses. After both teams settled down the game ended up tied midway through the quarter. Johnson grabbed three offensive rebounds in the quarter alone and scored off of two of them. West Allegheny came out hot after a timeout to fix their post defense and scored three straight three-pointers and going on a 7-2 run to end the third quarter. The score was 37-31 in favor of the Indians.

The fourth quarter started off with an aggressive Tigers team trying to claw their way back into the game. The Tiger defense led to a fast break three from Austin Ryan and an easy lay in for Brady Sunday. The Indians quickly called a timeout to cool off the red hot Tigers. The Indians came out of the timeout and hit a contested three to stop the Tigers 5-0 run. Midway through the 4th quarter Moon found themselves down four. At this point in the game the tide really turned into Moon’s favor. A full court press from the Tigers rewarded them with a Johnson steal and assist to a streaking Connor Ryan who got fancy with a behind the back layup to bring them within two. Another steal resulting from air tight defense from the Tigers was credited to Austin Ryan who took it up against the Indians center and converted the basket along with a foul to tie the game. Ryan was overcome with intense emotion, yelling and pumping up the Tigers student section. Austin Ryan converted the and-1 to give the Tigers a one point lead. The Indians earned a bonus free throw and converted it to tie the game back up a few possessions later.

With only a minute left in the game Johnson rebounded the ball on defense and went coast to coast to finish a heavily contested layup to give the Tigers a two-point lead. The next possession for the Tigers showcased great ball movement and led to a wide open corner three for Tre Carter giving Moon a five point cushion with 30 seconds left. The next 20 seconds of play consisted of two missed threes for the Indians and fouls to send Moon to the line but it was all in vain as the Indians could not mount a comeback. The Tigers fended off the Indians and finished their comeback winning 53-46.

Moon’s Johnson ended with 22 points and multiple offensive rebounds. Johnson was also complemented by the Ryan twins, who scored a combined 22 points and performed near perfect in crunch time.

Moon will host the West Mifflin Titans on Tuesday, December 18th, in their second section game of the year.