NICEVILLE — It’s never good for Crestview High School’s boys basketball team when junior point guard Rusty Moorer gets in early foul trouble.
And when the Bulldogs are playing a talented team as they did Wednesday in a tough Bainbridge, Ga., squad it spells even bigger trouble for Crestview.
Moorer picked up three fouls, on a technical, in the first 12 minutes of the consolation final of the Go Southern Beach Blowout at Northwest Florida State College. The three quick fouls forced Moorer to the bench for the remainder of the half. He picked up his fourth foul three-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter earning another trip to the bench.
With Moorer on the bench the Bulldogs didn’t have an answer to counter Bainbridge’s Tyree Crump. Crump, a University of Georgia commit, scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Bearcats to a 64-52 win.
“It really hurt us when Rusty picked up the fourth foul early in the third quarter,” Bulldog Coach George Stakley said. “He runs our offense.
“In the long run I think it did help us because Marcus (Purcell) had to run the one (point guard) and we had to go from there. We have to understand that there may be situations like that if Rusty went down.
It took Crump just 16 seconds to score the first basket of the game as Bainbridge never trailed in the coast-to-coast win.
Chris Bryant got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard hitting one-of-two free throws with 7:23 left in the first quarter. But a free throw by Trevon Shaw and a pair of Crump 3-pointers sandwiched around an Andrew Adkins free throw put the Bearcats up 9-2.
Crestview reeled off the next six points. A score by Adkins was followed by a Moorer basket. Sam Johnson finished the run with a slam dunk.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch of the first quarter and the Bearcats led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Bainbridge led 18-14 when Moorer was called for his second foul of the game with 4:20 left in the half. An upset Moorer, knowing he would be substituted for, left the court before his replacement reported into the game, and was hit with the technical.
With Moorer on the bench Marcus Purcell and Marquis McClain did their best to fill the scoring void. The problem was nobody could guard Crump. The 6-foot-2 Crump did most of his damage from long range, but he was equally efficient taking the ball down the lane.
Crump had 14 points at the half as the Bearcats led 32-24 at the intermission.
The Bulldogs (11-3) tried to claw their way back into the game early in the third quarter. Trailing by 10 points, Crestview cut the Bearcat lead to 34-32 with 6:16 left in the third quarter. Crestview scored on back-to-back 3 pointers by Purcell and Moorer and a put back bucket by Keenan Redd.
DeVontae Jones hit a 3-pointer for Bainbridge to end the Bulldog run and push the Bearcat lead back to five points. Crestview never got closer than four points the rest of the game.
Bainbridge led 50-37 at the end of the third quarter.
The Bearcats opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to put the game out of reach as they coasted to the win.
Shaw, 15 points, and Jones, 10 points, joined Crump in double figures for Bainbridge.
Purcell led Crestview in scoring with 16. McClain chipped in 14.
Despite the fact his team lost twice, Stakley thinks down the road the tough competition will help the Bulldogs.
“I think it’s a positive because we get to play other teams and other talent,” he said. “They have a Georgia signee, that’s the caliber our kids are trying to reach there. Seeing that kind of kid helps our guys look at it from that perspective.”