Morgan County Hoop Dogs lose to North Hall in second round of state playoffs
By Nick Nunn
After defeating the Ringgold Tigers 61-34 in the first round of the state playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 19, the Morgan County High School Hoop Dogs lost to the North Hall Trojans 46-50 late in their second-round game in the state playoffs. The Dogs end their season 24-6 with the distinction of being the 2013 8-AAA Region champions.
Morgan County set themselves up for victory early in the first quarter of the game against Ringgold. In the first few minutes, the Dogs had built a 19-0 lead over the Tigers, which waxed and waned throughout the game.
Ultimately, however, Ringgold was never able to catch up, and Morgan County won easily 61-34.
Tookie Brown’s 23-points during the game was far and away the biggest total for either team.
Morgan County meant to show the Trojans that they meant business at the beginning of their game on Saturday.
The first points of the game came from a powerful alley-oop dunk by CJ Turman, which caused Morgan County fans to erupt in the stands.
Although North Hall was a tough competitor throughout the entire game, Morgan County appeared to be able to keep them at approximately a five-point distance for most of the first half.
Just before the end of the second quarter and still ahead 27-25, Brown took the ball down the entire court to execute a masterful layup to extend the Dogs’ lead.
Before the crowd had time to sit back down after Tookie’s layup, Tookie, astonishingly, stole the ball on a North Hall inbound, got in the air before the buzzer, and shot a three-pointer to give Morgan a 32-25 lead.
I think that enough time has passed for what I’m about to say to sound like an honest opinion and not the soft-but-unmistakable sound of chewing on sour grapes.
Of course that I’m disappointed that the Morgan County basketball team lost last Saturday in the second round of the state playoffs. There were many in the community that thought that this might be the year they go all the way; I was among them.
It was a bitter pill to swallow when the final buzzer sounded and, looking back to the scoreboard just once more for something we knew wasn’t there, we saw that we had been outdone.
Make no mistake about it: we were outdone by North Hall. They exploited weaknesses that we had shown while under pressure for the entire season and were able to dominate control on both sides of the ball.
That happens. It just does.
What I also saw was what I considered to be unsportsmanlike, if not downright mean, conduct directed at our players by a few of North Hall’s athletes.
And that I cannot abide.
One player in particular – and I couldn’t cite his name if I wanted to, since North Hall doesn’t seem proud enough of their kids to list a roster anywhere on the internet – dogged our players all night.
Tookie Brown showed the patience of a saint against this kid, who looked like he was pushing Brown even as he was trying to defend him on a throw-in.
Of course, he never did anything to earn anything more than a slight reprimand from the referees; his borderline abusive techniques became condoned by the officiating committee.
I am familiar with the concept of “gamesmanship” as opposed to “sportsmanship,” but I don’t think that the Georgia High School Association should turn a blind eye to a team that wants to push the limits of rules designed for the safety of minors for something as ultimately trivial as a basketball game.
By Nick Nunn
In one short week, the Morgan County Diamond Dogs have brought their record to 2-1 by beating Rockdale 12-8 and exacting their revenge in a 4-3 game against Clarke Central.
The Dogs pounced on Rockdale in the first inning. A two-run RBI double by Andrew Couch, his second of the year, put Morgan ahead 2-1, but, after the top of the third, Rockdale had battled ahead 5-2.
In the bottom of the third, Morgan’s bats came alive, batting through the order and scoring five runs. Jordan Cox, Trent Hawk, Brantley Frost, and Cody Harper earned an RBI apiece in the inning, and Andrew Couch scored on a passed ball.
The Dogs added insult to injury in the fourth with five more runs, three of them coming from a huge double by Brantley Frost that nearly cleared the fence.
Although Rockdale had a small rally in the seventh to score three more runs, Morgan County stayed ahead through the end to win 12-8.
Rain prevented the Dogs from traveling to Social Circle last Friday to play the Redskins; that game was made up yesterday, Wednesday, Feb. 26.
Morgan County got to work early against Clarke Central, who had already scored two runs Monday night before the Dogs ever came to bat.
Carter Shultz shot a double into center field to begin the first inning and scored on a single by Stewart Spence.
By Nick Nunn
The Morgan County High School varsity tennis team began its season last week with matches against Jefferson on Tuesday and against Buford on Thursday. Both the girls’ and boys’ troupes outplayed Jefferson during the season opener, but they fell to Buford later in the week.
“I thought for our first match of the season against Jefferson, we played really well,” said Coach Greg Thompson at the end of the week.
Playing really well may be something of an understatement; the MCHS boys swept Jefferson 5-0 during their matches, while the girls came out ahead 3-2.
“Our three guys singles matches were well played by Caleb [Plumley], Wolf [Busenitz], and Sutton [Trulock],” began Coach Thompson. “There were a couple of games here and there that we shouldn’t have given up, but overall I was very pleased with the outcome.”
Caroline Jones came out ahead in her girls’ singles match, and Alex Ewing and Lily Arienzo won a doubles match for the Dogs.
“Alex and Lily played well against two young players who have a lot of potential for Jefferson,” said Thompson. “It was hard for them to get going because they both like to hit the ball hard and their opponents weren’t putting a lot of pace on the ball.”
The Net Dogs’ matches against Buford didn’t end as well. The girls’ team came away without a win, and the boys only managed one doubles victory.
“We knew coming in that Buford was going to be tough,” said Thompson.
Thompson said that Drew McHugh and Garrett Gardner, the winner of the boys’ doubles match, “battle for every point and have played a lot of tennis together over the last two years.”