His stat line didn’t show it, but Moe Hendricks said he wasn’t entirely comfortable Tuesday during his first visit to Valley High School’s J.C. Cantrell Gymnasium, the new site of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament.
“The rims are kind of hard,” the Jeffersontown High School senior guard said. “It’s a good gym, but I kind of like Bellarmine a little bit better.”
Hendricks still was able to hit 12 of 23 shots and score a game-high 29 points as the Chargers beat Doss 68-61 in a second-round LIT contest. He added three rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks as J’town (10-6) advanced to face the Ballard-DeSales winner in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal.
“I think he’s one of the best players in the city,” said J’town coach Clay Moody, noting that Hendricks is averaging around 25 points. “He was overshadowed last year because he was our fifth-best player. He’s doing a really nice job for us this year. He can shoot it, he can put it on the floor and he’s probably our best passer.”
Brandon Johnson added 12 points for the Chargers, who put together a 13-3 run midway through the second half to take control.
Montrell Little had 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead Doss (12-6) but was limited to five points in the second half.
“We stood around a lot and didn’t get him the ball like we should have,” Dragons coach K. C. Goodin said. “I’ll try to fix that and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Tyler Jefferson’s basket pulled Doss within 46-42 with 1:33 left in the third quarter, but J’town scored on its next six possessions. Hendricks scored six points and Johnson five during the run, which Hendricks capped with a layup for a 59-45 lead with 7:33 remaining. Doss never got closer than the final margin.
“At the end of the third quarter we did some nice things defensively,” Moody said. “We got some deflections and steals and got some easy baskets that got us going.”
* Moore 71, Christian Academy 45: Junior guard Jaelin Sanford scored 11 of his game-high 15 points during a 21/2-minute stretch in a dominant fourth quarter that sent the Mustangs (14-5) rolling past the Centurions (10-10).
Moore led just 48-39 after three but poured it on in the final period, thanks in part to Sanford’s surge, which included back-to-back 3-pointers.
“I think he’s one of the most underrated guards in the county,” Moore coach Richard Gatewood said, praising him for his ability to score, pass and defend. “… I think this is going to be the year he really breaks out.”
The final score was the Mustangs’ largest lead.
“The fourth quarter is usually my quarter,” Sanford said.
Trae Stott added 14 points for Moore, which will play the winner of today’s Manual-Central game, at 4 p.m. Friday. James Yates had 13 points and five rebounds.
Sawyer Hobbs had 13 points and seven rebounds for CAL but also had nine turnovers as Moore applied pressure on Valley’s college-length floor. The Centurions had 27 turnovers, a number that pleased Gatewood even though he said the Mustangs try to force 30-35 a game.
“When you turn a team over 27 times, you’re really guarding,” Gatewood said.
Moore, last year’s LIT runner-up, trailed 19-13 after the first quarter but got nine straight points to start the second and went ahead 34-27 at halftime. The Mustangs outscored CAL 44-14 in the second and fourth quarters combined.
Moore’s success started when it began to ramp up its defense, push the tempo and attack immediately after CAL’s shots were rebounded or went through the net.
“Coach was telling us to get the ball out quick and we would get easy transition buckets,” Sanford said, “… so the key to winning is to push the ball and get fast breaks.”