Super soph Moore leads West Memphis into state title game

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Saturday, March 3, 2018
Chris Moore
Photo by Dudley E. Dawson
Chris Moore

— One of the state’s best sophomores will be on the biggest stage next week against a familiar foe.

Arkansas target Chris Moore (6-6, 200 pounds) had 12 points and 11 rebounds Saturday as West Memphis outlasted Little Rock Hall 34-32 in a Class 6A semifinal at Lehr Arena in West Memphis.

The Blue Devils (28-3) will face conference rival Jonesboro (25-5) in next week's championship game in Hot Springs. Jonesboro features Arkansas guard signee Desi Sills.

West Memphis has won two of three against Jonesboro this season.

“It was a heartbreaking loss last Saturday (in the conference tournament), but hopefully the cards will turn the right way for us and we can finish this off,” Moore said.

Sills had a game-high 22 points Saturday afternoon as defending state champion Jonesboro downed Pine Bluff 65-48.

Moore has consistently put up double-doubles this season for the Blue Devils, who have seven seniors.

He had 15 points and 10 rebounds - right around his season averages - in Friday night’s 70-50 win over Marion.

“That’s our game game plan,” said Moore, who made all 15 shots and score 30 points in his team's season opener. “We are an inside-out team. When I start killing it inside, then I see my guys outside and they start filling it up.”

Moore will play AAU basketball this summer for the Malik Monk-sponsored Arkansas Woodz, formerly known as the Arkansas Wings.

West Memphis coach Marcus Brown knows he has something special in Moore. Among those in attendance to watch him this week was Memphis coach Tubby Smith.

“Believe it or not, we are trying to get him to shoot more outside when it is good for us,” Brown said. “Right now he is just a beast inside. His maturity level from last year to this year, his poise are so much better.”

“Last year was a little bit of a learning curve for all of us, a shock for him with the feeling of the game, the pace of the game. I thought he played more tired last year than this year.

“He came ready to play this year and he had the wind and the stamina to do it.”

Moore, who has offers from Memphis, SMU, TCU and Southern Miss, believes he has learn to take care of himself off the court.

“I have been staying focused and knowing what not to do on and off the court,” Moore said. “Off the court you have to really take care of yourself. You can see last year that I was growing up and just coming off playing junior high ball.”

Moore took in an Arkansas game earlier this season.

“I went there to watch them play Minnesota,” Moore said. “It was a great experience…The atmosphere was so crazy and it was just beautiful. Being out there in the Hills and seeing all the love for the team was just amazing.”

Arkansas coaches have stayed in constant contact with Moore.

“They are always checking up on me after every game, seeing how I am doing, making sure I am straight and making sure my head is on right,” Moore said.

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