SHAPE’s Jessie Moon puts up a shot in her team’s victory over Kaiserslautern at the DODEA European Division I Basketball Championships on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

SHAPE’s Jessie Moon puts up a shot in her team’s victory over Kaiserslautern at the DODEA European Division I Basketball Championships on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

It was no secret who the playmaker was for the SHAPE girls basketball team the past two seasons.

Because of that, Jessie Moon faced plenty of pressure from opposing teams face-guarding her and trying to deny her the ball.

Instead of getting frustrated and letting it affect her play, the 5-foot-7 senior relished the challenge.

“I’ve definitely been pressed and double-teamed, but I guess that just makes it more interesting,” Moon said.

Stars and Stripes’ 2023-2024 girls basketball Athlete of the Year pushed past all the attention to put together a memorable season.

Moon averaged 22.1 points, 8.5 steals, 6.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game during the regular season. The Mantua, Ohio-native carried over those performances into the season-ending championships, dropping 20.2 points, recording 6.8 steals and 7.2 rebounds over five games.

She had some of her best games against Kaiserslautern, the second seed in DODEA-Europe Division I after the regular season. Moon posted a double-double of 36 points and 13 steals in a 64-41 win over the Raiders on Jan. 13, and she nearly had a triple double as she dished out eight assists.

She helped the Spartans defeat the Raiders again in the tournament with a 32-point effort.

To go along with the gaudy statistics, Moon proved to be a field general on the court as an extension of her coach and father, Greg.

“She’s always on the court telling them how she wants them to do certain things,” Greg Moon said. “When she’s on the court if they can’t hear my voice, they’re hearing hers, which is good.”

Her performances and leadership led the Spartans to a third-place finish during both the regular season and the European championships in Wiesbaden, Germany.

SHAPE (14-5) split season series with the top two finishers during the regular season, Stuttgart – a 47-42 loss on Feb. 2 and a 42-35 victory on Feb. 3 – and Kaiserslautern – a 63-39 loss on Jan. 12 and the Jan. 13 win.

The record and place were improvements on the 2022-2023 campaign, in which the Spartans went 12-8 and finished fourth.

“There wasn’t a whole lot or negativity on our team at all,” Jessie Moon said of the 2023-2024 squad. “We were out there to have fun playing, and it was really fun, I’d say. We had a good time.”

For all her scoring prowess, an underrated aspect of the Spartan star’s game is vision, both the coach and player said.

That aspect was evident at the all-star game Feb. 24 in Vicenza, Italy. Moon connected with former Lakenheath teammate and Ramstein senior A’Lydia McNeal multiple times for buckets.

Jessie also posted double-digit assists twice during the season – both times against the Lancers.

“Usually, you don’t get a high school player with that high of standard for court vision and/or understanding of the game situational awareness of where things that would occur where she would already know what to do in a situation,” Greg Moon said.

Those skills have led to plenty of looks from colleges, as she has received 21 offers so far. Jessie mentioned Geneva College, a NCAA Division III program near Pittsburgh in Beaver Falls, Pa., as a possible destination.

In the meantime, she will try to raise her stock with a German travel team, Smooth Handles, which is based in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. She and fellow SHAPE star Bela Clobes made the journey from Belgium regularly.

In the end, Jessie said she will look back at her time in Europe fondly, even the start in which she and her then-Lakenheath teammates had to play through the COVID-19 era.

“Overall, it was a good experience, and I really enjoyed it,” Jessie Moon said.

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Matt is a sports reporter for Stars and Stripes based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. A son of two career Air Force aircraft maintenance technicians, he previously worked at newspapers in northeast Ohio for 10 years and is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

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