Moore’s 23 leads Panthers to second win over BHS this week
Hooking up for the second time this week, the Berkeley and St. Mary’s boys’ basketball teams produced a sequel that looked strikingly similar to the original. Berkeley held a slim lead at halftime, but the more experienced Panthers went on a second-half run to beat the young ’Jackets, 66-59.
Friday’s game, held in the consolation bracket of the Chris Vonture Spartan Classic at De La Salle in Concord, left both teams feeling unsatisfied. St. Mary’s didn’t play very well in victory, while the ’Jackets showed little improvement over Thursday’s ugly loss to St. Joseph.
“We’re just not playing very well right now,” St. Mary’s head coach Jose Caraballo said. “We’re not doing the things we normally do.”
One bright spot for the Panthers was senior Chase Moore, who scored a game-high 23 points after struggling offensively on Thursday. Moore came out fast, scoring 11 in the first quarter, then hit several big shots down the stretch when Berkeley got close in the final period.
“I just tried to step it up today and score a little more,” Moore said. “With (point guard) DeShawn (Freeman) out, we need someone to score some points.”
“That’s how Chase is supposed to play,” Caraballo said. “He’s not doing anything unusual for him.”
Freeman’s absence, which will last until next month, is clearly wearing on senior guard John Sharper, who has taken over the point. Sharper hasn’t had a good offensive effort in the Panthers’ first three games, and was shut out in the first half of Friday’s game before scoring 12 points in the second. But center Simon Knight came through against Berkeley, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Knight was awful from the line, however, making just 2-of-9 free-throws. Sharper contributed in other ways, tallying 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists.
Berkeley had their own offensive struggles to worry about. For the third game in a row, the ’Jackets looked disjointed on the offensive end, committing unforced turnovers and taking foolish shots. They shot just 37 percent from the field and were just 14-of-25 from the free-throw line. But head coach Mike Gragnani didn’t blame his players for the team’s struggles.
“I think what’s happening right now is my own fault,” Gragani said. “I have to do a better job in practice explaining the situations where we’re having turnovers.”
Typical of the ’Jackets was guard Dontae Hall. The 5-foot-10 junior hit his first three shots in the first quarter to give Berkeley a 10-6 lead. But Hall would miss his next nine shots as St. Mary’s went ahead, and he finished with 12 points. Hall also managed to grab 7 rebounds despite being the shortest player on the court, but was unable to convert several offensive boards into scores.
Guard Lee Franklin helped Berkeley get the lead back in the second quarter, scoring two quick baskets to give them a 20-19 edge, and Daryl Perkins hit a 3-pointer late in the period to keep a 30-28 lead into halftime. But the ’Jackets went ice-cold in the second half, scoring just 5 points through the next 10 minutes, missing three wide-open layups during that time. Sharper gave St. Mary’s the lead back with a 3-pointer to start the second half, and the Panthers never looked back.
Although the ’Jackets were down just 42-35 at the end of the third quarter, a 12-point St. Mary’s run quickly put the game out of reach as the Panthers took a 52-35 lead. Sharper, struggling with his normally dependable outside shot, started driving to the hoop, and converted 6 free throws in the final period on his way to 12 points. In fact, four of the St. Mary’s starters (Moore, Knight, Sharper and guard Terrence Boyd) combined to score all but 5 of the team’s points. Caraballo was unhappy with the play of his reserves, who allowed Berkeley to cut the St. Mary’s lead to 9 points with two minutes left in the game, forcing him to put his starters back in to insure the victory.
“I wasn’t happy that Berkeley came back when I put the subs in,” Caraballo said. “There can’t be a letdown when we go to our bench.”
St. Mary’s will face the winner of the Serra-Jesse Bethel matchup today at 4 p.m. for the consolation championship, while Berkeley will face the loser at 2:15 p.m.