United frontcourt

Friends and former AAU teammates Chris Moore and Chris Hahn are together again at Howard, which is bad news for the Lions' foes.

December 21, 2005|By ALEJANDRO DANOIS | ALEJANDRO DANOIS,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

On his first day of school at Howard High this September, senior Chris Moore was not happy about starting over at a new school.

Moore had spent his previous three years attending Centennial, where he was a standout in basketball. The 6-foot-8 forward was named the Howard County Player of the Year as a junior after leading the Eagles to the county championship.

"I didn't like it that much at first," Moore said of his first days at Howard. "But then I started to realize that there were a lot of people I knew from middle school and I was all right."

One familiar face belonged to Chris Hahn, Howard's 6-foot-6 senior center. The two have played against each other since they were 8 years old in the Columbia Basketball Association.

"I didn't know he was coming to Howard until I saw him in the hallway on the first day of school," Hahn said.

The combination of the two big men should create all kinds of matchup problems for opposing coaches and help the Lions better their eight wins of last season. With Hahn manning the center position, Moore will be featured on the wing as a small forward.

Moore and Hahn both said that a county championship and reaching the state playoffs are among their goals this season.

"He opens up my game and I open up his," Hahn said. "You're going to have to guard us straight up because you can't double-team both of us."

Moore is new to Howard, but he has experience with Hahn as a teammate. They started playing together on an Amateur Athletic Union team three summers ago, rooming together for a week in New Orleans on their first road trip.

Although the two have contrasting personalities - Hahn is gregarious and energetic, while Moore is laid back and quiet - the two became friends.

"We formed a good friendship and basketball relationship in New Orleans," Hahn said. "We talked about how to react and switch on certain screens and different things, sharing with each other about how we play the game."

In the fall league at Howard County Community College, Howard coach Marvin Thorpe watched closely, wondering if there would be any problems with his established players meshing with the reigning county Player of the Year.

Any fears were quickly dismissed.

"I thought we could have something pretty special," Thorpe said. "Chris Hahn and Chris Moore are unselfish players. They're out there to win, not get statistics."

In their first varsity game as teammates, Moore notched a triple double with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks in a season-opening loss to Oakland Mills. Hahn scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Although he is a center, Hahn also handles the ball and is a capable outside shooter. This season, Moore, who averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 blocks last season, will have more freedom to roam the court and impact the game with his quickness.

Howard runs more of an up-tempo style of offense with the guard tandem of Matt Harvey and Tyler Curley. At Centennial, Moore often operated within the confines of a half-court set offense.

"It doesn't matter what style of offense I play," Moore said, "Either speed it up or slow it down, I'll be there."

Last season, when Centennial played Howard for the second time, Hahn and Moore both had solid games while guarding one another. Moore blocked two of Hahn's shots early in the second half, converted a few steals into crowd-pleasing dunks and set the tone for a 66-53 Centennial victory. Moore finished with 22 points, while Hahn scored 19 for Howard.

"He killed us in the second half," Thorpe said of Moore. "He's so long, fast, quick and athletic. He ran the baseline from side to side and almost every offensive rebound was in his hands and back in the hole."

Hahn and Moore would still be on opposing teams had it not been for the county's most recent redistricting efforts. Under the new parameters, Moore's younger brother Jonathan, who had just completed his freshman year at Centennial, was required to attend another school.

"We preferred to keep both of our sons at Centennial, but had to take an alternative option," said Lem Moore, Chris' father.

Because of Howard's ROTC program, which both Chris and Jonathan Moore belong to, and the school's close proximity to the family's home, the Lions' boys basketball program received an early Christmas present in the form of Moore.

"I'm glad I don't have to play against him anymore," Thorpe said of Moore. "He does a little bit of everything - runs the floor well, rebounds, shoots, plays defense, blocks shots. How many schools have a player of that caliber fall into their lap? He's going to make things a lot easier for us."

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