Amyah Moore-Allen and Lilani Krause sank buzzer-beaters without setting foot on a basketball court.
Moore-Allen and Krause each signed National Letters of Intent on Aug. 6 to play collegiate basketball this season after a lengthy wait during their senior year and a boost from Players Like Us Take Over (PLUTO).
Moore-Allen will compete on a full-ride basketball scholarship at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas. Krause received a partial scholarship to play basketball for Salem University in Salem, West Virginia.
Moore-Allen will major in Fine Arts and Krause will study human science and psychology.
Moore-Allen, who played for Harrison High School, had a finale to remember. She led her team in points, rebounds, steals, blocks and finished second in assists.
Moore-Allen averaged 28.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, 6 steals, 2.9 blocks and 2.8 assists for Harrison as a senior.
Krause, who attended Widefield, also stuffed the state sheet. Krause averaged 17.1 points per game, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and .5 blocks.
The coronavirus pandemic stymied what both players could do outside the lines regarding college. The shortened season made it difficult for Moore-Allen to garner college looks this year.
In addition to an already condensed schedule, Krause and Widefield’s girls basketball team lost three games after contact tracing determined an official who refereed one of their games had COVID-19.
PLUTO, an amateur athletic union basketball organization, allowed Krause and Moore-Allen to provide more tape to coaches and helped them secure slots at their respective schools.
“Trey Harris put together a team for unsigned seniors and both of the girls played until July,” said PLUTO coach and Widefield assistant coach Sedrick Krause. “We were getting girls offers as we were playing. By playing at that elite level at PLUTO, it helped to get these girls the recognition they needed.”
Before signing their letters of intent, both girls delivered speeches to an audience of about 50 people who gathered at PLUTO’s gym.
Both got emotional speaking about their coaches, especially Liliani when she reflected on coach Herman Reese.
Liliani said Reese prepped her for the various aspects of college: how to speak to college coaches, aspects of her game they’d review and even dieting techniques.
In 2020, Reese suffered a heart attack and had to have an aortic dissection, which Liliani said led to amputation of fingers and toes.
“I’m grateful he pushed through which is why I mentioned he’s one of my biggest supporters and the reason I stayed so strong is because of him,” Liliani said. “A lot of my character and humbleness came from him.”
Moore-Allen rarely becomes emotional, but as she spoke, Moore-Allen said the magnitude of the moment hit and seeing those who helped her reach college caused her to shed tears.
“It was me thinking about everything I’ve been through but I’m at this point where I’m going to college,” Moore-Allen said. “Everyone who’s here supported me and never doubted me and it a lot to see them standing in front of me. They got to see something new with me being emotional but I’m happy to be at this moment.”