Harper Moore’s impact can’t be measured in points, rebounds or assists.
Instead, the senior post offers the intangible qualities coaches cherish but can’t quite quantify.
“I think Harper is one of those guys that does a lot of dirty work to help the team win games,” Storm coach Dave Dickson said in a phone interview. “What he does doesn’t always clearly show up statistically, but he is one of those guys that plays hard and follows the game plan, and just his work ethic inspires the other guys.”
Moore’s 7.1 points per game ranks fourth on Squalicum’s young team, but scoring isn’t his most recognizable contribution.
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Dickson believes Moore’s energy and passion to win games sets him apart.
And Squalicum (17-7) will be looking for more inspired play from their senior leader when the Storm travel to play White River (11-13) in the regional round of the Class 2A State Tournament at noon, Saturday, Feb. 28, at Puyallup High School. The winner earns a trip to the state quarterfinals next week at the Yakima SunDome.
Storm boys’ basketball has been a perennial state power essentially since the school opened in 1998. Squalicum has made 10 state appearances from 2001-2012, but the Storm has missed state each of the past two seasons.
Moore was a freshman when Squalicum last went to state in 2012, and he’s a major part of this year’s group that has returned the Bellingham school back to prominence.
“As a freshman I saw the older players do well, and then sophomore and junior year on varsity we all worked our best to get as far as we could and fell short a couple times,” Moore said in a phone interview. “This year I’m just really trying to get our team to compete every single night and have that will to want to do better and win as much as you can.”
Moore, an undersized post at 6-foot-2, is one of four seniors who has been a great role model for Squalicum’s talented younger players. Josiah Westbrook, a junior, leads the team with 17.6 points per game, and sophomores Damek Mitchell and Darious Powell average 15.9 and 9.3, respectively.
But Moore, a player who gets by because of his basketball acumen, has helped developed the team’s focus.
“All those kids love playing basketball, of course,” Moore said. “They love it so much they’re (sometimes) having (too much) fun out there, but they’ve totally matured and there’s definitely more focus and they’re all about the game right now.”
Dickson admitted Moore doesn’t possess top-flight speed or a through-the-roof vertical. Rather, it’s Moore’s tenacity that helps him excel against inside players who often have several inches on him.
“He has to use his wits and his heart to take care of things inside and he does a nice job,” Dickson said.
Oddly enough, one of the first times Dickson witnessed Moore’s passion wasn’t on the basketball court at all. It was in the classroom.
Having Moore in his history class, Dickson described his senior as worldly, saying “he is probably more aware of what’s going on in the world than 95 percent of the kids walking the halls at Squalicum High.”
He’s committed to being an agent for change, Dickson said, and that passion he shows for learning world issues translates to the court and also the baseball field, where in the spring Moore is a standout varsity pitcher.
“All I play is basketball and baseball, and I definitely have a big passion to want to do my best and give all I can to help my teammates,” Moore said. “I like doing things at the highest potential that I feel like I can do.”