Boys win one, lose one at Florida tournament
By Nick Nunn
The MCHS varsity boys basketball team traveled to Ocala, Fla. on Christmas Day to prepare for the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament, which took place over the course of four days, beginning on Dec. 26 and ending Dec. 29.
Morgan County won its first game, against the Dr. Phillips Panthers, 58-54, but lost to Ballard High School 64-57 on the second day.
The loss did not eliminate Morgan County, but it did take them out of top contention.
For the first game of the tournament, Morgan County faced off against the Dr. Phillips High School’s Panthers.
In the first quarter, the Panthers took a 12-10 lead but had lost it by halftime, when Tookie Brown dunked in the final seconds to give Morgan County a 32-30 lead.
By the end of the third quarter, Morgan County had built up an eight-point lead, but the teams were neck-and-neck all throughout the last quarter.
In the final 30 seconds of the game, Brown made a two-point field goal, and CJ Turman made two late foul shots to give Morgan County the four-point lead that ended the game.
Turman’s total scoring for the game added up to 22 points, including six made free throw points out of nine attempts. Brown made 20 of the team’s points, with 16 of them coming in the first two quarters.
Morgan County faced Ballard High School from Louisville Ky. in the second day of the tournament for the last game of the day.
Despite having several chances to overtake Ballard in the game, Morgan County lost 57-64.
For most of the game, Morgan County consistently stayed behind Ballard from seven to four points. After the first quarter the score was 12-16, a difference that didn’t change at the half; both teams scored 11 points in the second quarter.
In the beginning of the second half, Morgan County’s offense wasn’t able to keep up with Ballard, who scored 22 points in the third quarter to increase their lead to 10 points.
But Morgan County fought back in the last quarter, bringing their point deficit to four by the final minute of gameplay and three with only 25 seconds remaining.
However, Ballard sank some late foul shots to put a victory out of the reach of Morgan County’s hands.
Because of the loss, Morgan County was competing for fifth place during the remaining two days.
“We wanted to come and play some of the top teams from different states and have a chance to be battle test for the playoff run,” said Coach Gibbons after the second day of competition.
“We have definitely gotten that and held our own. It's a great tournament with some top players from around the county and we have proven we can hold our own.”
Friday night, they played the Vanguard Knights, of Ocala. Fla. Vanguard had beaten Holmes County in the first round of gameplay 73-38 but lost by the narrowest of margins 60-61 to West Gadsen in the second day.
The remaining results from the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament will be included in next week’s edition.
After the end of the tournament, the boys varsity team will be returning to Georgia to compete in the Hoops in Overdrive Shoot-Out, which will take place at Centennial High School in Roswell on Jan. 1. Morgan County will be facing Ft. Walton Beach High School at 5 p.m.
Morgan County basketball returns to region play on Jan. 4 against Elbert County for away games including the boys JV, girls varsity, and boys varsity teams.
Printed in the January 3, 2013 edition