Leader Blues

Friday, June 23, 2006

SPORTS >> Local ballers help East win

BY RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

IN SHORT: Searcy’s Chris Brown, Riverview’s Cory Cooperwood and former Falcon Steven Moore helped the East to a 111-90 win.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The three local players turned in very good performances in the 2006 men’s All-Star basketball games.
Leading the way was Steven Moore, a Jacksonville resident who played two years at North Pulaski High before transferring to Mills for his senior season. Moore was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his role at point guard for the East in their 111-90 victory over the West squad.

Two scoring records fell in the game. The East squad’s 111 points topped the 1976 West team’s 110, and the most-combined-points mark was also beat by one point.

In the boys game, the East first team, which Moore led at the point, stormed out to a 26-8 lead in the five-period format. The West didn’t score until two free throws made it 17-2 with 2:13 left in the quarter.

Ten new players took the court for the duration of the second quarter, and the West began a strong comeback. Dollarway’s Bobby Miller hit a three to open the second period and gave the East a 29-8 lead. From there, the West outscored the East 40-19 to tie the game with 2:02 left in the third quarter.

The West briefly took the lead with 1:21 remaining when a free throw gave it a 51-50 advantage.
Two Cooperwood free throws seconds later gave the East the lead for good.

The final two quarters were played with each team substituting freely, and the East re established its dominance. Moore started things off with a layup in traffic after penetrating the West man defense.

Brown got a putback and a big blocked shot, and Cooperwood began to be involved in every play.

Over the last 2:40 of the fourth period, Cooperwood hit two free throws, grabbed two rebounds, got two blocks and dished out an assist in helping his team turn a 59-55 lead into an 83-63 edge.

The fifth quarter belonged to Brown. Brown had missed six of his first seven field-goal attempts, but was the dominant player in the final stanza.

After the West closed the gap again from 83-63 to 87-75 with 5:45 to go, Brown got hot and put the West away for good. Over a span of one minute and three seconds, Brown scored nine points, including a beautiful reverse layup in traffic and adding a subsequent free throw.

He added two more rebounds and a dunk to his total before game’s end.

He finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots.

Moore turned in 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and took a charge, while Cooperwood added six points, four boards, two steals, two assists and two blocked shots.

After the game, East head coach David Hixson, who coached against Moore at Blytheville, had nothing but praise for his MVP.
“He’s the first guy we picked,” Hixson said of the coaches’ selection of the All-Star team. “We knew he was a great talent and a great young man, and we knew what he could bring to this team. I’m not surprised at all he got that award.”

As much as the coach praised the game’s best performer, he lauded his outstanding camper even more.

“Cory is just a phenomenal young man,” Hixson said. “That award goes, not just to a guy with great talent, and Cory certainly has that, but also to the man with great work ethic, and great character. Cory is the definition of what the outstanding camper is supposed to be. It was a hard decision because this is the best group we’ve had in the four years I’ve been a part of this, but Cory is very deserving, just a phenomenal young man.”