In a contest where Harrison High School senior Amyah Moore-Allen finished with a game-high 35 points, she still found an area where she needed to improve.
The Panthers basketball star said she “wasn’t in the game” in the first half Feb. 24 at Palmer and had to improve.
Moore-Allen’s competitive nature buoyed her to 35 points, 13 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 blocks and 2 assists, and propelled Harrison to a 48-39 win over the Terrors.
“I feel like, defensively, I wasn’t in the game and I was trying to figure out,” Moore-Allen said. “I was rushing it a little bit.”
At this point, the only person who can check Moore-Allen is an official who blows a play dead. Panthers coach Charles Thomas recognizes that few teams can halt Moore-Allen and he chuckled at the idea of the senior having an off night.
“A bad game for her is 20 [points],” Thomas said. “I told her that she had to take over this year. She has to do what she needs to do for her teammates.”
As a junior, Moore-Allen averaged 21.8 points per contest, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks.
In her final act, she’s improved that to 28 points per game, 11.5 rebounds, 5.6 steals, 3 blocks and 2.3 assists through 10 games. Moore-Allen scored 20 or more in eight of 10 games and has 30-plus in three consecutive contests.
Despite COVID restrictions, Moore-Allen found ways to improve throughout the summer. Whether on her own or with local basketball organization Players Like Us Take Over, Moore sharpened all aspects of her game: defense, dribbling, shooting, endurance. Moore said the last time she exited a game was because of foul trouble.
“She’s got that dog,” Thomas said. “Some kids play to play. She plays to win every time she gets on the court. Sometimes we have to put boys on her to work her – [junior varsity], varsity, whoever wants it. She’s ready for that challenge. Double teams, triple teams, she likes that kind of stuff.”
During Harrison’s game against Coronado on Feb. 20, Moore scored 38 points — all but four of the Panthers’ 42 for the game — had 17 rebounds, 7 steals and 4 blocks.
Those monster numbers don’t highlight the brilliance and improvement of her game. Moore has committed just 22 turnovers this season, or 2.2 per contest.
Several teams have attempted to stop her onslaught in the backcourt with a full-court press, but with little success.
The Cougars pressed the Panthers and Moore numerous times, but the senior plotted her moves and slinked past the defense without a struggle. Thomas attributes her poise to the offseason training and her ability to adapt swiftly to the defense.
“She’s been that way since she was young,” Thomas said. “Whoever wants it, she’ll give them the business.”
It’s rare, but Moore-Allen said she has moments where she needs motivation. She tabbed her father, Bobby Allen, as that source of motivation.
During the contest against the Terrors, her father’s voice extended across the gym with concise words of encouragement: “Breathe. You got this, Yah Yah.”
Allen deflected credit and praised his daughter, reiterating how dedicated Allen-Moore remained during the offseason.
“Her work ethic is ridiculous,” Allen said. “One of the biggest steps she’s gotten to is not thinking as much as she used to on the court. She’s just out there playing and loving the game. Last year, she’d get stuck a lot. This year, she’s free flowing and letting the game come to her. She already knew all of this but now she’s taking the necessary steps for it to come together.”
Her parents remain prideful, realizing how their daughter keeps battling to improve despite ongoing circumstances.
“We didn’t have to tell her to go to the gym,” said Selinea Allen-Moore, Amyah’s mother, “that was just something she loved to do. For four years, she ate, slept and drank basketball. To see her [basketball] IQ go from high to even higher this season, we’re so proud.”
All the impressive stats and accomplishments remain secondary for the senior. The prime objective remains a postseason berth.
The top 32 teams in Class 4A qualify for playoffs and, as of Feb. 25, Harrison sits at 50. It’s a tall task, but Amyah has faith the Panthers can succeed.
“A lot of people doubt Harrison,” she said. “I want to prove them wrong and make it to the playoffs.”