West Memphis High School Athletics


Blue Devils turn back Searcy 66-44


WM School District | 1/14/2020

PHOTO CREDIT: West Memphis High School Athletics

With star forward Chris Moore playing less than 20 minutes and sitting out the entire second quarter, Blue Devil head coach Marcus Brown was almost at a loss for an explanation after the game.

But it hardly mattered.

Held to just four points through the first two quarters, Moore exploded for 10 fourth-quarter points as the West Memphis boys pounded Searcy 66-44 on Tuesday night at Lehr Arena.

"That was just me...trying to get a couple other guys more minutes," Brown said, explaining Moore's prolonged absence. "Just wanted to see how those guys would respond."

Coming off an emotional 52-43 win last Friday at Marion, Brown said he was anxious about how his team would respond against Searcy, a team that was a heavy underdog on Tuesday night.

What Brown got was a balanced West Memphis attack that is now blossoming before his eyes. Senior guard Immanuel Hoard, whose past reputation has been built around his shooting stroke, has found other ways to score as his 14 points and 4 assists attested Tuesday night.

Also, senior Kyalan Sykes swished four three-pointers on his way to a 12-point night.

"I honestly think this year we go about nine or 10 deep on the rotation," said Brown. "We've got guys who can make shots in rhythm. Plus, we move the ball real well on offense."

The Blue Devils' only worry on the night was defending high-scoring Searcy senior Freddie Hicks, who wound up being the game's high scorer with 25 points.

But West Memphis (12-3 overall, 2-0 in the 5A-East Conference) met the challenge and then some.

With Moore riding the pines in the second quarter, Searcy (6-8, 1-1) was able to stay within earshot at 34-25 at halftime.

And although Moore was quiet on offense in the third quarter, the Blue Devils were able to push their lead to 45-30 after a rebound basket by Akyrahn Hazley with 3:12 left in the third quarter.

The defining sequence was the fourth quarter when Moore finally found his groove and punched down three dunks.

The 6-foot-7 Auburn signee has played the last two games on the perimeter, instead of being placed at his familiar low-post position. The result has been less scoring for Moore, who had 9 points at Marion and 14 against Searcy.

After a tip-in by Hoard to open the fourth quarter, Moore's eruption started with a beautiful alley-oop dunk after a steal by the aforementioned Blue Devil guard.

By the time Moore was finished with his spurt, the West Memphians were up 58-40 with 3:40 to play.

"I thought for about 20 minutes we played extremely well," Brown added. "Some of the guys are getting the confidence built up and that's going to help us down the road."

Junior point guard Jordan Mitchell and senior center Xavier Warren added 6 points for the Blue Devils.

West Memphis took care of the ball well all night, ending with just 10 turnovers while forcing 18 Searcy miscues. The Blue Devils shot 46 percent from the field on 26 of 56 shooting while Searcy was 14 of 29 for 48 percent.

Outrebounded just twice this season, the Blue Devils still won the battle of the boards 22-18 despite Moore's absence in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils travel to Nettleton on Friday night.