By Steve Svetovich
After an outstanding freshman season, what does Dunmore Lady Bucks sophomore guard Moriah Murray do for an encore?
She gets named to the Class 3A All-State first-team.
Daughter of Joseph Murray and Lynn Plotkin, the sophomore standout was one of five Lackawanna League players who earned berths on the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State girls’ basketball team.
The 5-9 sophomore guard averaged 15.7 points per game in her sophomore season for coach Ben O’Brien and the Lady Bucks.
Moriah was the only player to mount a challenge for Player of the Year honors which was won again by Neumann-Goretti senior Diamond Johnson.
In two state playoff games, Moriah picked it up and averaged 28 points per game. She scored a career high 33 points, including seven 3-pointers, on 10-of-15 shooting in the 65-51 win over Neumann-Goretti. Moriah added six rebounds and three assists. She was 18-for-27 shooting in the two PIAA playoff games. She scored 23 points and totaled five assists in the win over Constitution.
Moriah had a hot hand and hit 11-of-17 from 3-point range in the PIAA playoffs before Covid-19 stifled Dunmore’s bid at a state title.
Moriah humbly accepted the news of first-team All-State recognition. “I am so happy about it,” she said. “This is a huge honor. It is great for this team.
“Both last year and this season were nice. I could not do it without my coaches and teammates. The coaches always had us prepared.
“And I am so happy our freshman Ciera Toomey was recognized as a third-team All-State selection. We play well together and have so much fun. We definitely have a chemistry.
“I enjoyed playing with Ciera’s sister Victoria last season, too. I am looking forward to playing at Dunmore in the future with Ciera. She has a bright future and we have such great chemistry together.”
Moriah, 16, said she has been keeping busy during the Covid-19 pandemic playing “hoops” in the backyard with her brother Matt, 23, who played four years of basketball at Dunmore.
Moriah is a member of TACT and the French Club at Dunmore. Her future goal is to play Division I college basketball.
For now, she loves going to Dunmore and playing basketball there. “Going to Dunmore and playing basketball is such an amazing experience,” she said. “It is such a small, close-knit community. The community is totally amazing. The basketball experience starts in the biddy leagues and with our parents. I always looked up to the Lady Bucks and now I am one. Our coach is great and he always puts us in a position to win. Coach O’Brien always has us prepared and ready.”
Moriah said her parents always teach her to be herself. “They just tell me to be my own person.”
The basketball stalwart likes listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Roddy Rich, a rap artist, in concert. She has a 90 academic average and her best subject is history.
She talked about what it takes to be a good guard in high school basketball. “It takes a lot of practice. You need to train by yourself. You need to eat right and take care of your body. And a lot of stretching in the gym helps.”
Moriah talked about the effect of Covid-19 and how it ended the team’s run in the state playoffs. “We were very upset, because in the beginning of the year everybody said we were a young team. No one knew how far this team could go. But we put the time and work in and were playing really well. After we beat Neumann, our attitude was that we could win it all. So it was upsetting in the beginning when we had to stop playing due to Covid-19.
“We did stay in touch though. We did three zoom calls with our teammates and coaches. We all are staying in touch on social media.
“We really wanted to win it all this year for our two seniors, Nora Haggerty and Katherine Hopkins. It was a bummer not to win for them.
“Dunmore is so amazing. I always wanted to be a Lady Buck and always wanted to play for these coaches.”