YAZOO CITY — The St. Joseph Catholic School basketball team needed a spark, and freshman C.J. Moore gave them one.
The Fighting Irish (13-4) led Manchester by just one point Thursday in the semifinals of the Class AA District-4 tournament at Benton Academy, but thanks to a number of steals Moore made on defense, St. Joe was able to pull away from the Mavericks in the second quarter in a game they would eventually win 67-51.
“C.J. made steal after steal for us, and most of them resulted in easy layups” St. Joseph coach James Hunter said. “We needed someone to step up, and C.J. did that for us.”
Dillon Johnson led St. Joseph with 23 points in the Irish’s victory Thursday. Moore scored 15, while Jerrian King and Mekhi Norris scored 14 points each.
The victory Thursday advances the Irish into the championship game of the tournament which will be played Saturday at Benton Academy at 4:30 p.m.
St. Joe has lost to GCS twice this season. The Saints beat the Irish twice in the regular season by a combined total of seven points.
Last season, Greenville Christian also beat St. Joseph twice in the regular season, but the Irish came back to defeat the Saints in postseason.
Coach Hunter said he is hoping a similar result happens this time as well.
“This is a rivalry game for us every year, and every year it is always the same. We know that they (GCS) are going to come out and give us their best, and so are we,” Coach Hunter said.
Next week, starting Monday, GCS will host the AA South State tournament with games each night thru Saturday.