Lee Academy seniors Chris Butler and Emily Moser are multisport athletes, but were specifically recognized for their performances on the basketball court in 2020-21 with spots in the Class 3A to 5A All-Star Games.
Butler, a center, will be playing for the White team in the boys MSAIS All-Star Game at Jackson Prep at 6:45 p.m. Friday, March 5. Moser, a guard, will be playing for the Blue team in the girls game at Jackson Prep at 5 p.m. Friday, March 5.
“Obviously, it’s a tribute to how hard these young people put forth in the effort and worked at their craft and for our program here to get representation at the All-Star Game,” said Lee coach Michael Peckham.
It was the third time in four years two representatives from Lee Academy were in the game. Peckham was a head coach while then-senior Jacob Branch was on the team in 2017-18. Brett Wilson and Anna Byrd were the two seniors in the games from the 2019-20 school year.
“It’s just outstanding,” Peckham said. “I couldn’t be more excited for them. I wish I had Chris from the ninth grade on up. Who knows what he would be? But he’s really come on strong for us. Emily’s been a starter for me since the ninth grade. I’m very proud of both of them.”
Moser, a second baseman and shortstop, was also in the softball All-Star Game earlier in the year. She participates in the long jump, triple jump, 100-meter dash and 400, 800 and 1,600-meter relays for track.
“I’ve always been involved in sports as I’ve been growing up, but I just love being out there, being around all my friends and getting to play all the sports that I love,” Moser said.
Moser began softball at the T-ball level in Youth Incorporated. Her father, Chad, coached her brother Will. She began playing peewee basketball for Lee in fourth grade and started running track in seventh grade.
Butler is an offensive and defensive lineman on the football team and a first baseman in baseball. He began playing football as a freshman in high school, baseball at age 8 and basketball as a sophomore. Playing different sports is common in Butler’s family.
“My dad (Chris Butler Sr.) played all three and my cousins played all three,” Butler said.
Butler hopes to play college football at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
“I was a big guy, so I just tried it out,” said Butler reflecting on his start three years ago.
Butler is in his second school year at Lee Academy. He attended Coahoma County High School as a sophomore, but the football program influenced his decision to transfer to Lee as a junior.
“The football program’s kind of better here and the players here are,” Butler said.
Moser and Butler may play many different sports, but both appreciated the recognition for their basketball seasons.
“It means a lot to me to see all the coaches recognizing my athletic ability and how much hard work I’ve put in this year to make it this far,” Moser said.
Butler was not expecting to make the basketball All-Star Game.
“I’m kind of happy right now. He shocked me with it,” said Butler after Peckham broke the news to him.
The Lee Academy boys and girls both lost in the first round of the North State tournament, but the two All-Stars reflected fondly on their senior seasons.
“It’s been hard this year just because of COVID and we never know when our last game’s going to be so I kind of just keep my mind on I don’t know when my last game is going to be and I have to play every game like it’s my last,” said Moser of her approach to every game.
Lee Academy was the only high school in Coahoma County to play in the district tournament. The other local schools skipped to the playoffs.
“I would have been really sad if we wouldn’t have been able to play in the district tournament because, it doesn’t matter how good you are, the district tournament, everybody gets a fresh start. It doesn’t matter what seed you are,” Moser said.
The Colts did not win games until they got into their district matchups during the regular season. They finished second in the district.
“It was rough during the beginning of the season and we kind of bounced back a bit,” Butler said. “In the beginning, we didn’t have communication. We weren’t getting rebounds. We weren’t bouncing out. Now, we’re upgrading a little more on that.”
Butler said some of the players may have been in football shape instead of basketball shape at the beginning of the season.
Moser plans to attend Mississippi State University. Not only does Butler hope to play for Northwest Mississippi Community College, he plans to find a major where he can change tractors, engine and things of a similar nature.