Wednesday, March 14, 2001

3 generations go to state

Latest of Moeves hoopsters heads to Ky. tournament

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT THOMAS — Fred Moeves and his son, Mark, know what it's like to play in the Sweet 16 state basketball tournament.

        Fred Moeves played in the tournament in 1950 as a member of the Newport Wildcats. A generation later, Mark Moeves played in the Sweet 16 for three straight years with the Holmes Bulldogs, a late 1970s powerhouse that many longtime fans consider one of the best high school teams ever to come out of Northern Kentucky's Ninth Region.

        “There's no question that if you play high school basketball in Kentucky, playing in the state tournament is an experience you dream about, and when you get there you never forget it,” Fred Moeves, a retired educator and coach, said from his Southgate home.

        But both father and son in this basketball-playing family say they'll be far more excited about today's Highland Bluebirds state tournament game in Lexington than they were for their own Sweet 16 appearances.

        That's because a third-generation Moeves hoopster will play in the storied tournament this afternoon at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

        Derrik Moeves, 17, a junior starter for Fort Thomas Highlands, is the son of Mark and Pam Moeves and the grandson of Fred and Rose Moeves. He'll join his teammates as they take on Russellville at 1 p.m. today.

        “I played in the tournament, and Mark played it in three times, which is really unheard of,” Fred Moeves said. “But Rose and I are more thrilled for Derrik than we were for Mark. I think we just took it for granted with Mark because that team was so good. This year, it's unexpected. And I'm just so glad for Derrik.”

        A strong passer who is unselfish on the court — a trait learned from his father — Derrik hit a clutch three-point basket and then made two late free throws in Highlands' Saturday night win over Conner in the regional finals, a victory that put the Bluebirds in the state tournament.

        “I couldn't believe it when he shot the ball,” Mark Moeves, a manufacturing manager, said with a laugh. “I was yelling, "No, no' when he let it go. After he made it, I cheered.

        “But I think I'm as excited as Derrik about the game,” he said. “To play in the tournament is one thing, but to have your son out there is something that is really thrilling for me and the whole family.”

        And as they are for every game, the Moeves clan will be in stands for today's game.

        “It'll be neat,” Derrik, a soft-spoken, smooth-moving, 6-foot-3 guard, said Monday night. “It makes it special that my dad and my grandpa played in the tournament.

        “But I'm really excited for the whole team,” he said. “Nobody thought we would be here, playing in the tournament. I just can't wait to get down there and actually play in Rupp Arena. It's the dream of a lifetime.”

        Derrik may not even be the last Moeves to play in the tournament.

        His younger brother Josh, 15, started for Highlands' freshman team and was named to the ninth-grade all-tournament team; and his sister, Christina, 12, has played on three championship teams in the last two years and routinely makes three-pointers.

        Playing in big games seems almost inherent in the Moeves family.

        Fred Moeves grew up in Newport, playing in schoolyards and cracker-box gyms around the re gion. A standout guard who is a member of Newport High School's athletic Hall of Fame, he went on to play for the University of Cincinnati.

        Mark Moeves was a shooting guard for Holmes' teams that played in the state tourney in 1976, '77 and '78. The last team, known as the Superdogs, went 34-2 before losing on a controversial call in the finals. That team featured a slew of top players, including all-stater Doug Schloemer and guard Dicky Beal, eventually a University of Kentucky standout.

        “Sports has always been a part of our lives,” said Derrik's grandmother, Rose Moeves. “We love it.”

        “I can remember when Mark was a kid. He'd shovel snow off the basketball court we had in the back yard just so he could play,” Fred Moeves recalled.

        But Derrik's father and grandfather never did claim a title, something they hope to see Highlands do this year.

        “You never know,” Mark Moeves said. “I never thought they'd go this far. But Derrik told me all year they would be in the tournament. He was right. So maybe they can win it all.”


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