By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Hoop Dogs faced the Buford Wolves for the first regular season games of the 2013-2014 season last Tuesday, Nov. 26. The varsity Lady Hoop Dogs edged out the Wolves 54-51 with an overtime win before the varsity Hoop Dogs finished out the day with a 76-65 win against Buford.
The JV teams also had their season-opening games against Buford last Tuesday. The girls fell to Buford 19-38, but the JV boys beat their Buford counterparts 59-56.
The Morgan County varsity girls doubled Buford’s scoring output in the first quarter 14-7. The Wolves had nearly caught up by the end of the first half but were still behind 14-18.
Despite the Lady Dogs being able to extend their lead through the third quarter, Buford began to gain on the Dogs in the fourth and, in the final seconds, the Wolves fought back to tie the game at 45-45 to push the game into overtime.
The Dogs and the Wolves kept neck and neck through the first minutes of overtime. With only 44 seconds left in the game, Morgan County was ahead by a single point 52-51 after a free throw shot by Tatyana Davis. Carvetta Williams was then able to steal the ball from Buford, keeping them from adding to their total, and Stacia McClelland then earned the Dogs their final points of the game to make the score 54-51.
Buford was still able to get one more possession before the buzzer but weren’t able to capitalize on their chance to come back. Tatyana Davis led scoring for the Dogs during the 54-51 win with 15 points.
Sydney Nash added 12 points to the team’s total, and Alexis Brown earned 10 points as well. “Obviously it feels great to get a win against a team with the pedigree of Buford,” said Morgan County Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Joshua Reeves. “It meant a lot to the girls to get the win and especially to do so it in front of our home fans.”
“Our girls have been working very hard to prepare for this game and they really wanted to prove they can compete with one of the best teams in the state,” continued Coach Reeves. “They fought hard and deserved to get the win.” The varsity boys’ Hoop Dogs also fought hard for their 76-65 win over Buford.
Morgan County maintained a lead throughout the majority of the game, but Buford never stayed far behind. After the first half, the Dogs had only been able to create a 38-31 lead, and the Wolves managed to get on Morgan County’s heels 50-51 after the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, however, the Hoop Dogs’ offense took off again.
The Dogs scored 25 points in the final quarter of the game to build an impressive 76-65 advantage over Buford for the final score of the game. Tookie Brown, the team’s leading scorer, scored an unbelievable total of 37 points against Buford, almost half of the entire team’s offensive output.
Davon Gibbs seconded Brown’s total with 12 points, while CJ Turman and Jailyn Ingram each contributed 10 points for the Dogs. “We felt good about the early season win,” said Morgan County Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Charlemagne Gibbons. “We still have a lot to work on moving forward, but it’s a positive start.
“I think we expected to have a chance to control the game, but, either way, we felt at the end we had a very good chance to win the game. We have some really good players and like our chances every night out.”
The JV girls’ team suffered their first loss of the season against Buford 19-38. During the first quarter, the JV girls kept pressure on Buford’s offense, only allowing them to score five points to Morgan County’s four points in the quarter. Buford turned up the heat and began to play more aggressively in the second quarter, building a 17-8 lead over Morgan County.
The Wolves continued to advance their lead through the second half and the JV Dogs were never able to catch up. The Morgan County boys’ JV team earned a hard-fought 59-56 win over Buford immediately following the girls’ game. The Dogs’ offense got off to a slow start, scoring only 11 points in the first quarter but managed to stay on top of the Wolves.
Morgan County built its lead steadily through the first three quarters to 52-35, but the Dogs suffered an offensive drought in the last eight minutes, scoring only seven free throw points in the quarter. During that time, Buford took the opportunity in hand, scoring 21 points and coming within three points of tying the game, but the Dogs held off the Wolves, hanging on to the 59-56 win.
This week, the Hoop Dogs begin region play with a set of games against Elbert County this Friday in Elberton. The JV Dogs take on the Blue Devils beginning at 4:30 p.m. this Friday, with varsity games following at 7 p.m. Next Tuesday, Dec. 10, Morgan County will host its first region games of the year against the Hart County Bulldogs. Varsity games against Hart County will begin at 6 p.m. at the Morgan County High School gym.