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MOORE'S FINAL HURRAH IN WM WILL BE FOR ALL THE MARBLES

Moore's final hurrah in WM will be for all the marbles

BILLY WOODS

WM School District | 3/11/2020

PHOTO CREDIT: West Memphis High School Athletics

Saturday will be the final time Chris Moore puts on a Blue Devil uniform, and he is well aware of the emotions that will be tied to it.

Moore and the Blue Devils will play Jacksonville for the Class 5A state championship at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday at Hot Springs.

Although there is no official record book for Blue Devil basketball, it is believed Moore will end his career as the school's all-time leader in career points and rebounds, beating both spots held by the great Keith Lee.

Moore is the only player to have played four years for West Memphis. He needs 39 points Saturday to become the first player in school history to record 2,000 points and he needs 22 rebounds to best Lee's single-season record in that category.

Lee snatched 536 rebounds his senior year of 1980-81.

"I just want to say thank you to the city for everything it's done for me," said Moore, who is bound for Auburn next season. "They stuck with me even though I picked a team outside of the two home-town colleges. That really means a lot coming from a small city, having that community behind you.

"It'll be a little bit of sadness and a lot of excitement on Saturday. The sad part is I'm going to be leaving my city. I have a lot of great memories being coached by Larry Bray and Coach Marcus (Brown). It's also going to be exciting because this is the way to go out. Playing for the championship. Then I will be starting a new chapter in my life."

Moore has been a marked man ever since he moved up from West Junior High in the ninth grade to play for Bray in the 2016-17 season. He's led the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding all four years he's played.

No doubt, he will get special attention from the Jacksonville defense on Saturday.

Moore is the only Blue Devil with state title game experience, and the previous one didn't have a happy ending for he and his fellow mates.

Just two weeks after Moore put up huge numbers against Jonesboro in the 6A-East Conference championship game with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks, Hurricane head coach Wes Swift devised a plan to slow Moore in the state title game.

The then 6-foot-6 forward was limited to just 6 shot attempts for the whole game. Moore finished with a season-low 5 points and zero shot attempts in the second half as Jonesboro went on to win 55-49.

"I know (Jacksonville) is going to give it their best shot," said Moore. "If I can't produce in points that night, I will always be in there rebounding and doing other things to help my team win. If they come out in a double team, I'm still going to get mine, but at the same time I'm going to be smart about it because I don't want to force nothing and make it go wrong for the team."

Moore said the experience he gained from the 2018 championship game will be useful for him on Saturday.

"Everybody on the floor will be playing on emotion, playing on the biggest and brightest stage," he stated. "We'll have some who are playing with pre-game jitters, but I've got to be the person to tell them, 'hey it's still the same game we've played all year.' I think I put too much weight on my own shoulders two years ago. Now I kind of understand what it takes to be the man. I want to go in and play aggressive and not be timid."

Moore has already been a force in the three previous state tournament games last week in Russellville. Like the other starting Blue Devils he didn't get many minutes in the easy opening win over Beebe, but he had 9 points and 17 rebounds.

In the quarterfinal overtime win over Sylvan Hills, Moore willed his team to victory with game-high totals of 30 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists. In last Saturday's 59-43 semifinal win over Maumelle, Moore had 17 points, 15 rebounds, 6 blocks and 2 assists.

"Knowing this is the last game, I've got to give it everything I've got," said Moore, who was the Sophomore of the Year in Arkansas two years ago. "We're just going to try to go out and bring it all home for West Memphis."
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