Jessica Moore vividly remembers the play that put her on the path to a college basketball career.
“I was in sixth grade at JMS, and Kelli Matlock was the coach,” Moore said.
“The game was tied with a few ticks left. She called timeout and asked ‘who wants to shoot the last shot?’.
“And, without thinking, I raised my hand and said, I want to. She set up a play that had two double screens at the top of the key. When the inbounder threw it to me, I let it fly and swooshed it. With a game winning shot, we won the county tournament.
“My father always told me ‘don’t let your fears hold you back’, and being fearful is not an option.”
Eight years later, Moore is living out her childhood dream at NCAA Division I Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C.
The 5-foot-8 sophomore guard from Jacksboro averaged 3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 10.5 minutes per game for a team that posted its first winning season in a over a decade.
Moore also shot 33.3 percent from 3-point range (18 of 54).
The fourth-seeded Lady Camels (18-12 overall) were eliminated last week, 57-53, by fifth-seeded Charleston Southern in the quarterfinals of the Big South Tournament at High Point, N.C.
Obviously disappointed with the way the season ended, Moore and her teammates hope to make atonement next year for their defeat in the conference tournament.
Moore looks back on her first two seasons at Campbell University as a time of growth and preparation. She saw action in 21 games as a freshman, and played in all 30 this season for the Lady Camels.
The best performances of Moore’s collegiate career have come the last two years against Big South Conference foe UNC Asheville.
As a freshman, she hit a trio of 3-pointers against Asheville. Then, on Jan. 2 of this year, she went 4 for 4 from 3-point range during an 82-62 victory.
“Jess is a joy to work with,” Campbell University head coach Wanda Watkins said.
“She has really worked hard over the past year, and has been a big part of our team’s success. She is an energizing shooter who sparks our team night in and night out.
“She came to us as a good shooter, but has enhanced her all around game and is growing into a complete fundamental player.
“She represents Campbell well, both on and off the court, and we look forward to watching her continue to blossom over the next two years.”
Moore never backs down from a challenge. Her modus operandi since middle school has been to play at full throttle.
She hopes to lead the Lady Camels into the NCAA Tournament before her career is over.
“My goals are to play endline to endline and to go 110 percent the entire time I’m on the court,” Moore said.