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Athlete of the week: Moon shines for Lady Spartans
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West Hall girls basketball coach Lynn Jarrett discusses senior Jayla Moon.

Honorable mentions

Taylor Tate, North Hall: 22 points against East Jackson last Saturday.

McKenna Rushton, North Hall: 16 points against Pace Academy last Monday.

Taylor Swoszowski, North Hall: 15 points against Pace Academy last Monday.

Symone Hampton, East Hall: 14 points against Milton last Saturday.

Kiante Young, East Hall: 14 points against Milton last Saturday.

Chris Beck, Jefferson: 14 points against Eastside last Saturday.

Darius Minor, Jefferson: 14 points against Eastside last Saturday.

Cara Malone, Lumpkin County: 24 points against Athens Christian last Wednesday.

Ashley Brown, Lumpkin County: 22 points against Athens Christian last Wednesday.

Shawn Chapman, Lumpkin County: 21 points points per game in two games last week.

E.J. Young, Lumpkin County: 18 points against Whitewater last Monday.

Austin Tolbert, Lumpkin County: 14 points against Whitewater lats Monday.

Branden Jovaag, Chestatee: 17 points, four rebounds and two steals against Gainesville last Tuesday.

Peyton Roberston, Chestatee: 14 points and seven rebounds against Gainesville last Tuesday.

George Manomano, Gainesville: 14 points and three steals against Chestatee last Tuesday.

Jaymee Carnes, Gainesville: 12 points and six rebounds against Chestatee last Tuesday.

Madison Strickland, Gainesville: Eight points, five rebounds and four assists against Chestatee last Tuesday.

Devaris Finch, Johnson: 18 points against East Jackson last Tuesday.

Jim Orr, Johnson: 12 rebounds against East Jackson last Tuesday.

Maddie Haymore, Lakeview Academy: 16 points against Providence Christian last Tuesday.

Tyler Ward, Lakeview Academy: 18 points against Providence Christian last Tuesday.

Jordan Chastain, Lakeview Academy: 18 points against Providence Christian last Tuesday.

Four years of high school basketball seems to have paid off for West Hall’s Jayla Moon. At this point, she can do pretty much anything on the court.

Moon showcased her versatility in the Lady Spartans’ 55-53 overtime win against Monroe Area in the East Jackson Tip-off consolation game. She scored 28 points, had 14 rebounds and was 14-for-16 from the free throw line for her third double-figure scoring game of the tournament, earning a spot on the All-Tournament team.

“I felt like I did my best to score,” she said. “But I couldn’t have done without my team.”

That may be because her team knows that if the ball is in her hands, points are coming West Hall’s way. As a result, the 5-foot-10 senior has become the Lady Spartans’ leader on and off the court.

That role means leading the Lady Spartans (2-2) to its first playoff appearance since the 2005-06 season.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m ready for it,” Moon said. “I think I can handle it.”

Moon’s success this season has been from strong all-around play. As one of the tallest players on the team, she is a pivotal player in the post and is looked to for rebounds. At the same time, her teammates are looking to give her the ball from all reaches of the court, whether its for a quick layup inside the paint or a game-changing 3-pointer.

“She’s an outstanding scorer and has a quick step going to the basket,” Lady Spartans coach Lynn Jarrett said. “She has a really good touch on her shot, she elevates pretty well, and she’s probably our best 3-point shooter on the team right now.”

But one of Moon’s biggest improvements this year has been on the other end of the court. Though she has made a name for herself in Region 7-AAA for her scoring abilities, she has also become a formidable defender, which she not only thanks her coach and her teammates for, but surprisingly enough, the boys team as well.

“I’ve been watching the boys play,” Moon said. “They play with a lot of intensity on defense.”

She has even enlisted the help of one particular boys player as a one-on-one mentor — her boyfriend, Marquise Stephens.

“We worked together over the summer on posting,” Moon said.

After a summer filled with defensive practice, and eight months of the year dedicated to West Hall, her AAU team and playing with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Gainesville, Moon has taken her game to a new level. So it’s no surprise that colleges, most notably Charleston Southern, have shown interest in her abilities. Though she has not made any final decisions on where she’ll play, she knows for sure that it’s something she wants to do.

“She’s definitely being recruited,” Jarrett said. “She’s pretty open right now, but it’s something she’ll have to think about as the season winds down.”

In the meantime, Moon’s goal is simple: go out in glory, and make it to the state playoffs.

“We just have to keep doing everything we can,” she said. “Our team goal is to make it to state."

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