Leading by only two points with 4:23 to play, the Troopers went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to secure a 67-52 victory over Water Valley.
More importantly for Mooreville, the win set up a showdown for first place in Division 2-3A next Friday when Aberdeen visits the Troopers.
“It’s a game of runs and it’s been that way all year,” Tally said. “As long as they can have a few more runs than the other team, we’ll come out ahead.”
Mooreville pushed its lead to 49-39 with 6:27 to play on an Erick Dilworth layup before the Blue Devils responded with their biggest push of the game.
An 8-0 run capped by a field goal by K.J. Lee cut the Troopers’ lead to two points at 49-47.
After a timeout by Tally, Zack Sisk ignited Mooreville’s game clinching run with a three-pointer. Sisk scored six of his eight points during the run.
Austin Timms helped the Troopers (17-4, 3-0) in another critical run to end the third quarter.
With Water Valley leading 33-31 with 2:16 to go in a back-and-forth third, Timms scored seven of his game-high 14 points in a 15-2 run. Mooreville led 45-37 entering the fourth.
“I told the guys I thought we had some mental lapses on defense, especially in that third quarter,” Blue Devils coach John Sherman said. “We gave up a lot of easy shots and layups that shot that lead up.”
Water Valley slowed the pace of the game early with a motion offense. As a result, only fourteen total points were scored in the first with the Blue Devils leading 9-5.
“Water Valley did a good job of making us play their game,” said Tally. “It threw us off. We didn’t shoot the ball well and we couldn’t even get a shot off at times.”
When those shots weren’t falling from outside, Quadzing Rogers stepped up in the paint. Rogers came off the bench and scored eight of his 12 points in the second quarter.
Mooreville led 24-21 at halftime after Timms scored four consecutive points just before the break.
T.T. Person and Austin Hodge both scored 11 points to lead the Blue Devils (5-9, 2-2).