Moore reigns in young Hornets

Published 11:40pm Saturday, March 31, 2012

For Dallas County High School, this season yielded similar results to the last one, as the Hornets season ended in the first round of the Central Regional Tournament.

But the journey was much different this season than last, as this year signified a youth movement at Dallas County.

Hornets head basketball coach Willie Moore led his team to a 24-5 finish that included a Class 4A Area 6 championship and a No. 7 ranking in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A state poll.

It was a task the Hornets achieved while playing eight underclassmen — six freshman and two sophomores.

“As far as the comparison between the two teams, the 2011 team compared to the 2012 team, the 2011 team was a little more talented and had a little more promise as far as being able to compete for a championship,” Moore said. “This year’s team was a lot younger, so the expectation level for us was high, but we finished in the same spot that we did the year before, so I guess in a way that was pretty good for a young team.”

When Moore takes the court, he does so with a philosophy that emphasizes making the opponent play to its weaknesses, while the Hornets do what they do best.

“We just try to not defeat ourselves, we try to make teams use their weakness to beat us,” Moore said. “We want to make sure we play to our strengths.”

As far as what drives and motivates Moore when he leads the Hornets into battle, it’s the same as any coach or athlete — the will to win.

“I’m just a competitor, I want to win, I want our kids to win,” Moore said. “We teach our kids at Dallas County that the fun is in winning. The fun is not playing the game, the fun is in winning. So the result that we try to get across to our kids is that we want to win. We want to do whatever it takes to win.”

Moore said the credit for this year’s finish doesn’t rest squarely on his shoulders, as everyone in the program contributed to the young Hornets run.

“I’m thankful. I had a really, really good coaching staff,” Moore said. “They were instrumental in the development of our kids and our program. It’s not just about me, it’s the kids being committed, the parents getting the kids to and from school when it’s time to practice and to play games. It was a total program effort for us this year and we’ve been pleased with it.”

This year’s team exceeded expectations in many regards, but with ten players and at least three with starting experience returning next season, Moore knows youth and inexperience won’t be excuses.

“This summer we’re going to focus on skill development,” Moore said. “Hopefully, a lot of the kids continue to work hard and get better because the expectations are going to be a lot higher because they can’t come back in the same situation they were in before, so they’re going to have to improve mentally and physically.”

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