YORK — Finding flaws in Elijah Moore's game this season is a little like disparaging the 1972
"Jesse reminded Elijah in practice yesterday that he hasn't had as many of those 15-rebound games as he had last year," Jordan said.
Moore responded with an 18-rebound effort on Wednesday to go with 21 points in leading the Clippers to a 57-45 win over visiting Warhill. The victory assured the Clippers (17-2, 15-0) of at least a tie for a repeat district title.
Moore carried his team by scoring all of his points in the first three quarters, a hard-fought 24 minutes that ended with the Clippers holding a slim 43-40 lead. Point guard Tyler Millan took over offensively in the final eight minutes, hitting 7-of-8 free throws in scoring nine of his game-high 22 points.
Defense, however, was just as responsible for Grafton pulling away by outscoring the Lions (11-5, 9-5) 14-5 over the final eight minutes. The Clippers forced the Lions into five turnovers and 0 of 9 shooting in the fourth quarter to win going away.
"I told our guys they did an exceptional job on the defensive end," Jordan said.
Warhill gave Grafton all it could handle on its home floor, and led 29-26 late in the first half. Forward Marcus Brooks (11 points) and point guard Jacary Crew (11 points) led the way, combining for 18 first-half points as the Lions led 29-26 late in the second quarter.
But the Lions were again having difficulty stopping Moore, who scored 32 points in a 66-63 win at Warhill in December. Virtually all of his first 12 points came inside.
"They were smaller than we are, so I was trying to go to the basket as much as possible," Moore said. "And Coach Jordan had told me that I could get every rebound on the court and that I needed to."
Moore made his presence felt from the outside late in the first half with the help of reserve Jimmy Jessup. Jessup assisted Moore on consecutive 3-pointers that gave the Clippers a 32-29 lead at intermission.
Devonte Dedmon (10 points) led an early second-half charge for Warhill, which scored the first six points of the third quarter to lead 35-34. But the Clippers surged ahead for good by responding with an 8-0 run that included consecutive baskets by McMillan and an Isaiah Moore basket assisted by brother Elijah, who ended the run with his own basket inside via Santiago's assist.
"Isaiah Moore gave us great energy off the bench with four points and seven rebounds," Jordan said. "Elijah had a monster game."
A game that moved the Clippers closer to the home-court advantage they hope will fuel a postseason run like the one last year that vaulted them to the Group AA Division 4 state final.