Hoop Dogs eliminated by Coosa
ROME – Youth finally gave way to experience as a young Hoop Dog team were ousted in the first round of the state playoffs by a Coosa team full of seniors.
Poor shooting and lack of control on the offensive boards proved troublesome for the Hoop Dogs (13—13, 9—9) as they found themselves down 20—8 after the first quarter of play. Morgan County had no answer for the Eagles big man underneath as Rashun Bryant was one of four players to score in double digits on the evening. Bryant was a sophomore the last time he saw the Bulldogs in the state playoffs two years ago. This time, a little quicker a lot leaner, Bryant dominated the defensive boards for Coosa and on several occasions sent lob passes down the court to wide open teammates as the Dogs struggled to run with the Eagles.
"We are a team that can’t afford to fall behind," Head Coach Donald Harris said. "They were No. 3 in the state with only one loss. When they got the lead, they just took control of the game."
Morgan County did give Coosa fits defensively with their flex offense that helped them win earlier in the season against Wilkinson County. Down by as much as 25 points in the first half, the flex offense brought the Hoop Dogs to within eight in the second quarter but the Eagles still held a 44—26 lead at the half.
The Dogs held the Eagles in check in the second half, keeping pace with them in the third quarter and actually outscoring them in the fourth quarter. But the deficit proved to be too much for the Hoop Dogs as the Coosa Eagles advanced with a 74—62 loss.
"Anytime a No. 4 seed has to take on a No. 1 seed, that lower seed needs to play above their potential. I was looking for us to play a little better, but this was a team that had mostly seniors who have been to the Elite 8 the past couple of years," Harris added.
After a slow start to the season, the Hoop Dogs finished the season strong riding a seven game winning streak as the regular season came to a close and into the first two games of the Region 7—AA tournament. Playing in their final game in a Bulldog uniform were Glenn Mathis, who scored all of his six points in the third quarter, and Brandon Williams, who added two points for Morgan County. Germaine Bly led the Bulldog offense with 24 points, 11 of which were scored in the third quarter. Zach Wilson followed with nine points in the game and three blocks.