Moore passes success on to teammates 

A stutter step, followed by a shift of the hips, a crossover bounce through the legs and two quick dribbles. That’s usually all it takes for Ki-Ki Moore get into the lane.

But what truly makes Sacred Heart Cathedral’s sophomore point guard special is what she does with the ball once she arrives.

"I’ll shoot when I have to, but I love to draw the defense and pass off to my teammates," Moore said. "I’m always thinking ‘Just go to the basket’ and then I try to set someone up."

It’s this unselfish attitude and great court vision that led 16-year Irish girls’ basketball coach Brian Harrigan to say Moore will likely become the best passer in school history by the time she graduates. It’s also a prerequisite for playing time on an Irish team that features eight to 10 players who could probably average 20 or more points a game, but have continually put ego and personal statistics aside to emerge as one of the top teams in the country. Junior Jazmine Jackson (11.0) is the only player to have averaged more than 10 points a game for the defending state champion Irish (30-2), who are No. 21 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 poll. The team is preparing to face Sacramento (29-3) 10 a.m. Saturday at Stockton Arena for the NorCal Division III title for the right to advance to the state championship game.

"We tell the kids ‘OK, maybe nobody’s going to average 25 or 30 points a game,’" Harrigan said. "But if they work hard together, we can play in games like the one we have on Saturday."

Moore has already shown a flair for the big moment in her short career at Sacred Heart. As a freshman, she came off the bench and combined with classmate Tierra Rogers to score 25 points in last year’s 66-56 overtime win over Windward of Los Angeles in the state final — with the duo accounting for the last 10 points of regulation for the Irish. This year, Moore had Sacred Heart’s first five points of overtime — including a huge 3-pointer — as the Irish beat archrival St. Ignatius 49-46 on Jan. 9 in front of a huge crowd at USF’s War Memorial Gym.

Moore started off the season coming off the bench, but saw her role increase when guard Faihza Hill injured her knee early in the year. The 5-foot-7½ Moore became a starter after a 58-52 loss to La Jolla Country Day on Jan. 5 and since then Sacred Heart has won 21 consecutive games and became the first team in West Catholic Athletic League history (boys or girls) to go through the league season unbeaten. She has averaged 6.8 points and approximately five rebounds and five assists a game.

"She’s fun to play with and she really stepped up this year," Rogers said of Moore. "And she can definitely get to the rack."

Moore, Rogers, Jackson, Lauren Bell, Monique Calvello and Kamilah Jackson all grew up playing with one another at Mission Rec, a fact Moore says has factored into the team’s success.

"It helps out a lot, we know each other so well and what each other is going to do on the court," Moore said. "We all play together like sisters."

Moore has also learned a lot from her brother Dominic Johnson, a senior guard on the Sacred Heart boys’ team. Their rough games of 1-on-1 helped Moore develop the competitiveness and strength that fuel her game.

"She’s got the physical strength to throw a pass from one free-throw line to the other with just a flick of the wrist and not many players can do that," Harrigan said. "She came to us with the tools to be great."



WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Stockton Arena

AT STAKE: Winner advances to Division III state title game, to be played March 24 at Arco Arena in Sacramento.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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