BIDWELL, Ohio — “I’ve been waiting for this day forever.”
The words of River Valley senior Leia Moore just moments before signing her letter of intent on Wednesday in the RVHS gymnasium. Moore, who will begin her senior season for the Lady Raiders when the campaign starts on November 20, signed to Fairmont State University’s women’s basketball team.
“Ever since I was little, my mom would always tell stories from when she was playing,” Leia said. “She started me when I was in first grade and I’ve loved it ever since. Being able to play at the next level has always been a dream of mine.”
Moore averaged 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 2.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while leading the Lady Raiders to a 9-13 mark in her junior season.
As a junior Leia was named to the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division first team, and the Associated Press Southeast District second team, while earning All-Ohio honorable mention and District 13 special mention nods. Moore was a first team Ohio Valley Conference selection as a sophomore, when she averaged 10.1 points per game. Also as a sophomore, Moore was named to the Associated Press Southeast District third team, while being selected as a District 13 special mention. As a freshman, Leia was an All-OVC special mention selection.
“Leia’s very happy with her decision, and we’re happy with it,” RVHS head coach Sarah Evans-Moore said of her daughter’s commitment. “As a coach I’m happy to have it out of the way, so that its not something we have to worry about, stress about or even think about during the season. In the first workout that I had with Leia after her commitment, I felt a huge sense of relief. Knowing that we’ve accomplished this makes us all more at ease.”
Fairmont State is an NCAA Division II school that competes in the Mountain East Conference, which was formed in 2013.
“I had a checklist of college qualities,” Moore said. “Along with a good basketball program, everything I had on my list was checked off for Fairmont. It was the best choice from my point of view.”
The Falcons, who have had 13-straight winning seasons, are led by the program’s all-time winningest coach Steve McDonald. In his 15 years as FSU head coach, McDonald has posted a 299-143 record and has taken the Falcons to the NCAA Divsion II tournament four times.
“Leia will have an impact in our program as a freshman,” McDonald said. “She’s known as an exceptional shooter, but we see many other qualities in her that we look for in our players. She’s extremely smart on the court and off the court, and has a great desire to succeed. We expect her to contribute right away.”
Moore, who is currently ranked first in the RVHS class of 2016 with a 4.0 grade point average, plans on majoring in pre-med or exercise science. Leia played volleyball for three seasons at River Valley, before deciding to focus on basketball full time as a senior.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.