ROGERS – Conway's Adrian Moore may only be a freshman, but he stepped up as like a senior on Tuesday night.
Moore, a 6-3 guard, scored nine of his 14 points late in the game and also had several key assists in crunch time as the Wampus Cats rallied to beat Rogers 61-56.
He had tallied just five points before his old-fashioned 3-point play and ensuing lay-up late in the third quarter rallied his team from a 41-38 deficit into a 43-41 lead.
"I think I am adapting pretty quickly to high school, but I have no choice but to step up and play because this older guys aren't going to say just look at the little ninth grader," Allen said. "They are going to go hard at me, too. I have to play just as hard – if not harder – than they do."
Moore made a name for himself back in middle school when his dunk in a seventh-grade game went viral on YouTube and was actually featured nationally on CBS Final Four best dunks of the year show.
He has since been part of the Dunk Dog AAU Elite squad and that has earned him attention already from Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina, Georgetown and Baylor, who sent him a letter before his eighth grade season.
Conway head coach James Bates got lucky in that this is first year that Class 7A has allowed freshman to play up on the high school team.
"He is special young man," Bates said. "He is always in the right place. They have been several times this year when somebody else puts up a shot, but it comes off and he is right there.
"He had a big 3-point play on the road against Watson Chapel and then had a big one tonight against Rogers," Bates added.
Senior Tim Boyd had 21 points and he and Allen put the game away by hitting 11-of-12 free throws late.
"We wanted to keep the ball in Adrian and Tim's hands because they are pretty good from the line," Bates said.
Moore took over when his team was down 39-34 in the third quarter as the visitors closed out the third quarter on a 12-2 spree.
The game was tied 50-50 with four minutes when Boyd and Moore started their trips to the line to close things out.
"We were a little sluggish in the first half, but we finally woke up and then hit some big free throws down the stretch and pulled out a great win," Moore said.
It was a nice win for Conway, especially after dropping its last two games in overtime to Pine Bluff and Bryant in last weekend's Wampus Cat Invitational.
"We are pretty happy we won one," Bates said. "We've kind of got tired of that. It feels good to win one like that."
Bates and Moore had a chance to scrimmage North Little Rock during the preseason in a match-up that saw Moore and Charging Wildcats super sophomore KeVaughn Allen matched up.
"KeVaughn Allen may be the best player in this state I have seen in 13 years as head coach at Conway," Bates said. "He is special. So is Adrian. That's a pair of great young players."
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