Gia Moore experienced the longest 1 minute, 47 seconds of her life Monday night at William Chrisman High School, where her Bears lost a 58-50 Suburban Middle Seven contest to visiting Oak Park.
Moore, a junior who has taken on a leadership role for the Bears following a season-ending injury to Jacque David, carried the team on her back, scoring a career-high 26 points to lead Chrisman to a 50-48 lead with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Moore picked up her fifth foul and had to watch the remainder of the game from the bench. What made it even more gut-wrenching was the simple fact that the Oakies scored the final eight points of the game, while her Bears missed their final six free throws.
“It just breaks my heart, because I feel like I let my team down by fouling out,” said Moore, who was 7 of 11 from the field, including four 3-pointers, and 8 of 8 from the line. “I am proud of what I was able to help our girls do tonight, but sitting on the bench at the end was just so hard to take. I wasn’t aware that I had four fouls when I fouled out. That will never happen again.”
Chrisman coach Scott Schaefer could hardly point an accusing finger at his standout guard.
“Gia carried us tonight,” said Schaefer, after the Bears fell to 4-7 overall and 1-2 in league play. “We would have liked to have had her on the court at the end, but she was great tonight – from the floor, from the free throw line – and she provided leadership out there, which is something we have been looking for since Jacque went down with her (torn ACL) injury.
“It’s disappointing that we were just 15 of 26 from the line, especially when you consider that Gia was 8 for 8. But we will learn from this and come back strong tomorrow (when the Bears host Blue Springs in a rescheduled game at home).”
The Bears got off to a hot 7-1 start before Oak Park’s Paige Allen – a senior forward who is just 60 points away from 2,000 in her career – attempted to take the game over.
She scored seven of her game-high 37 points in the first quarter, while Moore scored seven points to make it 11-10 in favor of the visitors going into the second period.
Allen scored nine in the second quarter while Moore added eight and the Bears trailed 25-17 at halftime.
Chrisman cut its deficit to 40-35 going into the final quarter and Annie Nauer’s second basket of the night made it 48-46 with 2:14 left in the fourth quarter.
Moore then stole an inbounds pass and hit a layup to tie the game at 50-all at the 2:10 mark.
After an Oakies turnover, Nauer hit two free throws to give Chrisman its last lead of the night, 50-48, with 1:50 left. That’s when Moore fouled out and Turner scored six of Oak Park’s final eight points to ice the win.
“We must bring out the best in Gia,” quipped Oak Park coach Zane Tanner after his team improved to 5-5 and 1-2. “She had 20 against us last game and they beat us. You can tell they’re missing Jacque, but Gia did all she could tonight to keep them in the game.”
When asked about the play of Allen, the Oak Park coach simply said, “She just did what she has done for the past four years. She averaged about 26 points a game and you saw what kind of player she is tonight. She is special.”