Moore battles back to play college ball
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
When Corydon’s Lily Moore signed her National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Cedarville University in Ohio, a challenging prep basketball career came full circle.
Moore, the daughter of Steve and Lori Moore, had a breakout season for the Lady Cougars of Christian Educational Consortium out of Louisville, averaging a team-best 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds with nine double-doubles. She also led the Lady Cougars to the Jarod Lovekamp Tournament Championship, notching 23 points and 18 rebounds against Shawnee High School in the championship game to earn MVP honors.
For her play during the 2021-22 season, Moore was showered with awards, including being named the Ohio River Homeschool Conference Player of the Year and All-Defensive 1st Team, National Christian Homeschool All-Region 1st Team in the Southeast U.S. and a Louisville Battle of the Bridges All-Star.
While her senior year was everything she could have hoped for, there were times that adversity nearly took such an experience away during the course of four years. The odyssey began one fateful evening in August of 2015, when she suffered a freak accident involving a broken glass while washing dishes, jeopardizing her playing career, her hand and possibly her life.
“I dropped a glass while washing dishes and, as I tried to catch it, it hit the counter and broke in half which caused me to drive my wrist down on the broken half and cut the underside of my wrist on my right hand,” Moore said. “The cut was very deep, and it severed all the tendons and ligaments in my wrist as well as two nerves (median and ulnar) and an artery. Thankfully, my mom was nearby to stop the bleeding or else I might not be here. They rushed me to emergency surgery to save my hand and to retain its function. Dr. Charity Burke from Louisville Hand and Arm was remarkable that night, and the surgery was a huge success.”
Alongside having to relearn everything from playing sports to writing with her left hand for six months following the accident, she was able to return for her eighth-grade season at North Harrison Middle School, scoring 17 points in her first game back. One week later, she came down with the flu, which quickly became the catalyst for her next bout with unusual adversity.
After suffering from great fatigue that left her mostly bedridden for months, Moore was finally diagnosed with both mononucleosis and celiac disease, the latter condition exacerbating the former into a more severe form, resulting in her missing her eighth-grade year both academically and athletically while recovering.
In the months leading up to starting high school at North Harrison, Moore learned that scar tissue was affecting the nerves in her left hand. Initially expected to be a contributor for the Lady Cats en route to a second straight Class 3A state runner-up finish, Moore opted for a non-invasive injection procedure in October 2017. The pain that ensued post-injection caused her to miss her entire freshman year. Sophomore year was hardly any better as, despite a second surgery on her hand, she began to suffer more pain as a result of more scar tissue, causing her to sit out another season.
Amid many sleepless nights since the initial injury, the pain from that injury seemed to worsen by the day after Moore’s sophomore year. Meetings with various doctors, taking numerous medications and other procedures did little and surgery seemed to be the only option. Moore’s parents began to research alternative therapies to alleviate the pain such as acupuncture, red light therapy and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. The process was more of a chore than a treatment, causing Moore’s dreams of playing college basketball to turn into fears of living with constant, unending pain.
That was until her father began looking for massage therapists in the Louisville metro area, stumbling upon Amy Guyton, who referred him to Catherine Slattery, a Rolfing therapist at Louisville Rolfing.
Rolfing is an intense and aggressive deep tissue massage that releases and remolds scar tissue to be more pliable and act more like regular tissue. At first, Moore was unsure of the 90-minute procedure’s effectiveness on such a small area of the body, but the results were astounding.
“Catherine focused all her efforts on the very small area of my wrist for 90 minutes during that first session. At one point she had most of her weight on my elbow and was aggressively driving her elbow into my wrist. Needless to say, I experienced some very weird and ‘cringy’ sensations during that first session,” Moore said. “(But) after only one session of Rolfing, my pain had significantly decreased.
“My parents brought me to the YMCA, and I was able to shoot a basketball again for the first time in six months. We cried tears of joy,” she said. “A few more sessions and I was able to play softball for the first time in years. We continued the sessions for a few more months until the pain had totally subsided. Catherine informed us that her therapy had permanently changed the cellular structure of the scar tissue to be less rigid and that the pain would not come back.”
With almost five years of wrist pain now a thing of the past, Moore dove headfirst back into basketball. Having hardly played organized basketball since sixth grade, she had an uphill battle to make up for lost time. She had a strong start her junior year for the Lady Cats, scoring her first varsity basket on a go-ahead shot against Charlestown followed by blocking a potential game-winning layup.
Despite the heroics, Moore was running out of time in her high school career. This prompted her to reclassify to the Class of 2022 and transfer to Christian Educational Consortium for her final two years of high school. In her first year with the Lady Cougars, Moore averaged 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds as she helped lead them to the Ohio River Homeschool Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
Having lost so much time to injury and illness, Moore wasn’t on the radar of many programs. She ultimately received offers from four universities: Franklin College, Midway University in Kentucky and Tiffin and Cedarville, both in Ohio. She ultimately chose Cedarville, an NCAA Division II program, solidifying the move by signing her National Letter of Intent on Saturday at Victory Baptist Church in Louisville.
Through the hardships, the struggles, the hope, the tears and the gratification, the late-blooming Moore will finally get to realize her dream of playing college hoops. While an unusual journey, she hopes that her story can be an inspiration for others while using her studies in business administration and physical therapy to aid those in a similar plight she fought through.
“Outside of helping people overcome physical injury, I also want to use my story to motivate a broader audience on what they can accomplish if they never give up and just keep getting up when they get knocked down. To help people understand that laying down and playing the victim is not the path to their dreams,” Moore said. “With all the time that I missed, I am essentially a high school freshman in basketball years. I’m just getting started, continuing to learn and improve every day, and I feel like the best is yet to come.”