By Leila Dycus staff writer

Basketball is back at MCMS. This past weekend marked the first Summer Saturday games for Morgan County youth. “This is a great opportunity for kids to be active during the summer time learning about playing basketball and having fun while doing it,” said middle school basketball coach Milfred Franklin. On Saturday, June 7, players from across Morgan County showed that basketball is meant to be played every season. Just as many sports are offering camps this summer so are the Hoop Dogs. This past weekend was the first of many Summer Saturdays to come.

Basketball teams made of students ranging from third to eighth grade having been coming together each week at the middle school and high school to practice. On the weekends these teams have the chance to show what they’ve learned by taking on other area teams in scrimmage games. Just as they face during the regular season the Morgan County Hoop Dogs will take on teams from Greene County, Madison County, North Oconee, Social Circle, Monticello and Jackson County. Games take place at Morgan County Middle School and high school. The teams will participate in Summer Saturdays every weekend in June as well as July 12 and 19.

On a typical Saturday grades three through six play at the middle school starting at 9 am. Grades seven and eight play at the high school, which also starts at 9 am. Students are lead by community coaches such as Nicky Little, Michael Carter, Derrick Worrell, Vet Lewis, Sharda Massey, Patricia Pitts, Travis Peters, Nate Williams and Milfred Franklin. This basketball program would not be possible without these coaches. On Saturday the Morgan County boys seventh and eighth grade basketball players took on North Oconee in their first Summer Saturday game. The Bulldogs came out strong in the first half leading North Oconee 11 to 9.

Derrick Worrell, the team’s coach, encouraged the boys to rebound and steal the ball. As the game went on the boys worked hard under pressure as the North Oconee team started catching up. Late in the game the teams were tied at 17. The game came down to the last seconds with North Oconee scoring with less than 35 seconds in the half. North Oconee pulled off the win over the Bulldogs 17 to 19. The first Summer Saturday also proved tough for the seventh and eighth grades Morgan County girls’ team. Social Circle defeated the Bulldog girls 14 to 35. “They did excellent- good teamwork, good defense and only had one melt down,” said Coach Worrell. “Overall they did great!”