By Bobby Mathews, Sports Editor
LEEDS — Senior forward Ford Barnes led all scorers with 20 points and junior guard Tanner Chambers buried three three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Green Wave pull away from Moody here on Friday night, 61-48, the first time Leeds has beaten the Blue Devils in more than three seasons.
Much of the game was back-and forth, with Leeds leading 14-10 near the end of the first quarter. Moody senior forward Mason Trimm drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to pull the Blue Devils to within one, 14-13.
Trimm buried another trey with nine seconds left in the first half to put Moody up 28-25, but that left just enough time for Chambers to take the inbound pass and head up the right side of the court, where he banked in a three at the buzzer from Steph Curry range to tie it at 28-28.
In the third quarter, the Leeds defense clamped down. Chambers picked up where he left off, hitting a three-ball to get the scoring started for the Green wave. A Barnes dunk on the next possession pushed it to 33-28 before back-to-back buckets by Davion Dozier and Trimm pulled it to 33-32. After that, the Leeds defense came to life.
“We feel like we can score with Jamal and Tanner,” Leeds coach Jeremiah Millington said after the win. “But what’s going to get us where we want to go is at the defensive end.”
Barnes found his range in the paint, using the low blocks and spinning over his opponents to rebound and score, but it was Chambers’ three three-pointers in the quarter that made the biggest difference. While the Green Wave defense held Moody to 10 points in the third, Leeds scored 19 to begin to pull away, 47-38.
“Their shooter got hot, and we couldn’t find him,” Moody coach Chad Bates said after the game. “We couldn’t buy a basket for a few minutes, and they hit three or four threes, and that kind of changed the game. We tried to make a run and just couldn’t finish. They’re a good team, and they took it to us.”
Mekhi Jones, quiet for most of the game due to foul trouble in the first half, pulled the trigger on a trey from in front of the Leeds bench to make it 50-38 to start the fourth quarter, and that’s when Jamal Jordan stepped up.
The senior guard for Leeds, who has surpassed 1,000 points for his career, showed he wasn’t done. Earlier in the game, he came up limping, but gutted through the pain. In the fourth quarter, he scored four times and had a pair of assists to keep the offense moving and put the score out of reach of the Blue Devils.
Jordan finished with 16 points. Josh Ruff scored the final points for Leeds with a drive and layup. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw. After Trimm hit again with time winding down, Leeds secured the 61-48 victory.
Dozier led Moody with 14 points, while Trimm and Carson Dillashaw each scored 12.
The teams will rematch in Moody on February 1 at 7:30 p.m.