CHESTERTOWN — North Warren’s Anthony Girard and Lake George’s Cameron Orr would get their points. In the middle, North Warren’s Tanner Dunkley and Lake George’s Luke Pelchar would likely cancel each other out.
Friday’s Adirondack League game between top contenders was going to come down to role players.
Enter Julius Moffitt.
The Lake George sophomore came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points, dish out three assists, play fearless defense and generally light a spark under the Warriors when they needed it most.
The 67-59 win bumped Lake George to 7-2 in the league and 9-4 overall. It was the first loss of the season for North Warren (7-1, 11-1).
It was a back-and-forth game, with Lake George jumping out to a 6-0 lead on two 3-pointers by Orr (18 points) before North Warren made its run and led after the first quarter, 18-13.
Moffitt provided six points in the second quarter, when Lake George made one of its runs and led at halftime, 31-30. Moffitt scored on one 3-pointer — he finished with four — and three free throws, of which he finished with nine. But he also missed six at the line.
“I don’t know what happened. I can make 3s, can’t make free throws,” said a smiling Moffitt. “My teammates fed me the ball and had faith in me off the bench.”
After a rough first half shooting for Girard, the junior guard switched tactics in the third quarter and instead drove to the basket with authority, racking up 12 of his game-high 25 in the period. As a result, the Cougars led after three, 51-49.
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In a tight fourth quarter, Moffitt’s penultimate 3 of the night gave Lake George the lead for good at 54-51. His last one of the game put the Warriors up 58-52, and he also added two key free throws to make it 62-55.
This concludes a better week for Lake George, which last week lost two league contests to Granville and Hadley-Luzerne. This week it put wins over Argyle and North Warren on its resume.
“We were out of sorts, we were trying to force some stuff. I think it was (a wake-up call),” Lake George coach Blake White said of the two losses.
White said his team is now recognizing things on the court and reacting to them rather than just running a play that isn’t designed for what they’re seeing. He was also proud of his team’s man-to-man defense, which the players asked for themselves.
“We’d been playing a lot of zone until last week, and the kids said, ‘Let’s play man.’ All right! Our goal was to keep them under 60, because they’ve been averaging in the high 70s. We beat a really good team at their place and kept them under 60. Good night’s work,” White said.
Pelchar added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Cole Clark had an all-around solid game for Lake George with seven points, six rebounds and five assists.
Dunkley had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Cougars, while Ryan Miller added 11, all in the first and third quarters when he provided a spark.
North Warren coach James Cuyler said he didn’t view it as a loss, but a learning experience.
“That’s a championship-quality team,” Cuyler said of Lake George. “They’re rich in winning. You want to be the best in the Adirondack League, you’ve got to go through Lake George.
“You would love to have an undefeated season,” he added, “but that’s not going to realistically help you (for sectionals). We’ve just got to get back to work on Monday and get ready for Granville on Friday.”
Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.