Green Named MVP, Woodard gets 1000
If close games supposedly harden you and get you ready for the playoffs, then Morgan’s girls should be tough as nails come tournament time. This past week the basketball team took losses to Hart County 56-53 in overtime and another to AAAAAA opponent Heritage of Conyers in the final two minutes 53-47. The other game of the week featured an unbeaten Franklin County squad that currently holds the number three ranking in AAA. Morgan lost that one 59-32 to a very talented group that could make some noise in post-season play.
Morgan took on the Lady Lions of Franklin Tuesday who showed why they are so well thought of in the ranking circles. Two move-ins from Banks County certainly didn’t hurt their chances of being a front-runner for a Region Championship this year. The full-court man-to-man pressure from Franklin gave Morgan some problems in the early going. They found themselves down by 12 at the end of the first quarter and never recovered from that deficit. Junior guard Lou Reid continues to lead the ladies in scoring with a team-high 11 for the evening. Miranda Powell, Taylor Wilson, Tamia Benford, Aris Hubbard, and others contributed for Morgan in the loss.
Friday the Lady Dogs traveled to Hart County and lost one that they should have won, according to Coach Josh Reeves. He said, “We’ve just got to find a way to win some of these close games. It’s not like we’ve been blown out except for Buford. We’re playing well enough to win. We just have to make some plays when it counts.”
The overtime game saw Morgan let a five point overtime lead evaporate when Hart hit an NBA range three followed by a foul that led to two made free throws. The plays Hart made down the stretch were too much to overcome in the heartbreaking loss on the road.
Morgan trailed 18-11 after the first quarter, but made up some ground in the second by holding the 11-4 Lady Bulldogs of Hart to only two points. The deficit was only three at the half at 20-17. A high-scoring third quarter by both teams saw Morgan fall behind at 37-33, but they mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to tie things up in regulations at 43-43. Hart outscored Morgan 13-10 in overtime action to take the 56-53 win.
It was then on to non-conference play with Heritage coming to the Dog House Saturday night. This script just keeps writing itself over. The Lady Dogs played another solid game displaying the scrappiness and tenacity that has defined this group all season. They just couldn’t get it done in the waning moments to bring home the win.
The Lady Patriots came into the contest sporting a 10-4 record, but Morgan held their own against the bigger (in both size and classification) opponent. Morgan ran out to an 11-9 lead after eight minutes of play with Reid posting six of those in the scoring column and Kourtney Elder getting a layup near the end of the quarter. After the lead changed hands several times in the second period, Heritage went on an eight-point run to take a 27-19 advantage. Elder again got a late layup to close the gap to 27-21 at intermission. Reid had nine of those.
Morgan came out and cut the lead to one on a three-pointer by Powell and an inside shot by Hubbard. Things stayed close through the quarter, but Morgan still trailed 36-33 going into the final period. The Lady Dogs finally grabbed the lead at 40-39 again with just over four minutes to play on an offensive board and put back by Hubbard followed by a driving layup on the part of Reid. However, the lead was short-lived as the teams became tied at 45-all with 1:50 remaining. Morgan could only muster two points during those crucial minutes while they watched Heritage put up nine. Two critical plays came off of missed Lady Patriot free throws that were offensively rebounded to take off precious seconds and give Heritage an opportunity to stretch the lead. They were 7-11 from the line in the final two minutes while Morgan went 2-6 in that same time frame. It was another tough loss at 53-47.
Reeves reviewed the week like this, “It was not the most successful week for us. We played some competitive games but we were not able to come out on top. We pushed Hart as hard as we could and made some young mistakes toward the end. Franklin shot it real well against us and opened the score up on us. We just didn’t seem to come to play against Heritage. We had lots of mistakes and uncommon plays from some of our girls. We are still chopping and working to get better. Hopefully it will show around tournament time.”
The Dogs and Lady Dogs will play again Jan. 12 in a home game vs. Monroe Area.