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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Jenny Moorer leads Seffner Christian into arguably its biggest game.
By JOE SMITH
Published February 16, 2008
Seffner Christian forward Jenny Moorer is no stranger to performing under pressure.
The 5-foot-10 junior has competed with the school choir in competitions in front of crowds all over the Southeast. Last week, the 80-member group serenaded the Florida State Fair.
So which offers more stage fright - singing or shooting hoops?
"I've definitely had a few panic attacks before a basketball game," Moorer said.
But Moorer appears calm and collected as she leads Seffner Christian into arguably the biggest game in the precocious program's history.
Tonight, the Crusaders host region power Sarasota Christian (23-5), which knocked Seffner Christian out of the playoffs last year and has reached the state semifinals the past two seasons.
The Crusaders come in battle tested, having faced tough opponents this season. Seffner Christian played Tampa Catholic, Holy Names and Armwood - losing to them all - but taking Tampa Catholic and Holy Names to the limit in four-point defeats.
"We don't go in saying we're out here thinking, 'We're going to lose,'" Moorer said. "We only lost to those teams by six points, five points - it wasn't even a huge difference. (Those games) make you better."
Moorer (18 ppg, 15 rpg) improved her game from an early age, growing up on the court. Her father, Kenny, was the basketball coach at Florida College (now he's athletic director). Both of her brothers play - Samuel, 19 (Florida College), and Bradley, 14 (Seffner Christian junior varsity team).
The Moorer siblings are all barely older than the Crusaders program, which started as a small, church-league team and joined the Florida High School Athletic Association five years ago.
Two district titles later, Moorer has been bombarded with congratulatory calls and text messages since Tuesday's region semifinal win.
The Crusaders can clinch a state semifinal berth before the boys team, which hosts a region semifinal Tuesday night. Both are expected to host an enthusiastic but small student body.
"It's exciting," Moorer said. "Girls sports at any school are sometimes put below boys - it's cool to feel like you're on top."
Class A region final
Sarasota Christian (23-5) at Seffner Christian (15-10), 7 tonight