"I didn't think this would happen. I thought enough people would realize there's a need for West in the community and that a successful effort would be made to keep it open."
The Burrs, a member since the Catholic League's inception (1919-20 season), played their final game Sunday, falling at Bishop McDevitt, 55-50.
The players and coaches then said what Moore called "their first goodbyes." The second, he added, will follow a team banquet in April.
"I guess we'll have it at school," he said. "If the finances are good, maybe we can have something more extravagant someplace else, so we can send these guys off the right way."
In his regular job, Moore, universally considered a good man, works in customer service for US Airways at the airport. He is also a co-director for the summertime Sonny Hill programs for high school and college players.
What's next for him?
"I'm not thinking about my future until I secure theirs," he said pointedly, referring to the four senior Burrs - Mark Perez, Anthony Fleet, Jaleel Reed (likely headed to college for football; scored the last points on a put-back layup) and Jalen McDonald.
Moore, a Roman Catholic grad, joined North's staff as the freshman coach for 2006-07. His one season as the head coach was 2009-10.
"Everything seemed so positive when I started at North," he said. "There were feelings of optimism and positivity . . . I had no idea that a closure could be happening [3 years later]. At West, we knew we had to get the house in order. That the enrollment was low. I still felt optimistic . . . Then to get the news that West would be closing, too? Just devastating."
Let's see whether someone/anyone connected with Public League sports has guts.
More than ever, coaches of mid- to lower-level hoops programs are complaining that their best players somehow keep transferring to top dogs.
Most say their principals would love to block at least some of those transfers because they know that they're made primarily (completely?) for basketball reasons, which is against PIAA rules, but that they're hesitant to take a stand, because it's not worth the time or effort, since the hammer is almost never wielded.
Here's my solution: Limit each team to two transfers per game.
More specifically, in each game, a team may use only two players who saw varsity action at another school in the previous season. If there are, say, five such transfers on a roster, too bad. Two can play and three can keep stats or pass out water bottles. Rotate 'em and have fun listening to the outraged parents/AAU coaches.
If kids can't be sure they'll get to experience a full season, maybe schools will be less inclined to sell out their original squad. Maybe coaches who somehow keep adding transfers, whether aggressively or (wink, wink) passively, will work harder to develop their own players.
Oh, and no exceptions. Not even for triplets.
(OK, one exception: If a kid's original school closes or drops the sport, he's immediately eligible somewhere else. Kids shouldn't be penalized for that.)
Nkingi Jones' first point was Monsignor Bonner's last.
With a shade under 1 minute remaining Sunday at Archbishop Ryan, the 5-8, 162-pound senior guard took a pass from Bliss Harris, darted into the middle of the lane, absorbed contact while lofting a floater and . . .
"I thought it was going to be good, but it hit the back of the rim," Jones said.
Luckily for him, the whistle blew and the foul line beckoned.
"As I released that first free throw, it was lookin' good," Jones said. "It went straight in. I missed the second, but . . . It felt great to finally score. Earlier, I missed a wide-open three."
This was Jones' first basketball season. Nkingi (nuh-kinn-gee), who lives near 57th and Jefferson in West Philly, was cut from the freshman squad, then spent 2 years playing cornerback for the football JV. Before Sunday, in limited action, he figured he's missed six shots from the floor and three at the line.
Bonner, of course, is slated to close this June, though strong attempts are being made to save it.
"I wasn't thinking about how I might have been scoring the last point," Jones said. "But afterward, everybody was saying I did. I thought about it and said, 'Oh, you're right.' It hadn't occurred to me. It's pretty exciting if it is the last point, but I hope it's not. I hope Bonner stays open so I can come back and watch guys score a lot more points."
Ryan point guard Kyle Slawter defines unselfish. In 22 games for coach Bernie Rogers' Raiders, he has totaled 60 points and 85 assists. His totals for 13 league games: 42 and 59 . . . Weird development: In a Pub playoff won by Southern, 54-41, only three guys scored for Northeast - Daquan Bohannan (20), Deryl Bagwell (13), Yusef Savage (eight) - and Malakiah "Max" Hunter scored all 19 of Southern's fourth-quarter points . . . Tom "Hockey Puck" McKenna, a longtime Daily News statman and now a basketball assistant at Roman, received a plaque for dedicated service to that school's program before the regular-season finale with Wood. They come no better!! . . . Pub AAAA is a wasteland. Seven schools competed in the top two divisions in the regular season. Fels went 9-4 in B. The other six went 18-52 . . . Engineering and Science guard Tajhere McCall has committed to Holy Family . . . During its 67-game Catholic League winning streak, counting the regular season and playoffs, Neumann-Goretti has triumphed by an average score of 77-53. Forty-two wins have come by at least 20 points.
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