Hoop Dogs win four, lose one at tournament
By Kathryn Schiliro
The Hoop Dogs, the county's summer basketball league for middle and high school-aged players, headed up by Morgan County Middle School Basketball Coach Milfred Franklin, concluded their summer season with a July 21 tournament and finished with some wins as well as a boost in confidence.
The tournament began with a Hoop Dogs girls inner-squad game, where the group of Morgan County fourth through eighth grade girls, divided into white and red squads played each other.
"The girls played very well against each other with tons of excitement throughout the game," Franklin wrote in e-mail correspondence.
In the Hoop Dogs' second game of the night, the Morgan seventh and eighth-grade boys took on Butts County. While the game was close for the first few minutes, Franklin wrote, the "squad got in a groove and didn't look back."
The Morgan boys beat Butts County by 14 points, with a final score of 42-28.
"Coach Eric Benford and Coach Derrick Worrell commended [the team] on how well they played and how everything we've worked on came together," Franklin wrote.
Morgan's boys red squad also took on Butts County in the Hoop Dogs' third game of the tournament. This game was much closer than the first Morgan-Butts game, as neither team maintained a lead larger than six points.
"Eventually fatigue set in on Butts County toward the end and the red squad was able to put the nail in the coffin in the closing minutes to seal the victory," Franklin wrote, also commending the squad on their resilience. "They never gave up as the game went on."
The final score in this game put Morgan on top 34-26.
In the Hoop Dogs' fourth game of the tournament, the Morgan Junior Varsity boys squad avenged a four-point loss from Saturday, July 14 by soundly defeating Monroe County, 52-26.
"After tipoff the JV took about (two) minutes to get the ball rolling and didn't look back," Franklin wrote.
In the final game of the day, a combined, seventh and eighth grade Morgan boys team again took on Monroe, jumping out to an 11-point lead but, by halftime, was losing by 10 points.
"The combined squad had a meltdown with turnovers and lack of defensive intensity," Franklin wrote.
However, in the second half of the game the Hoop Dogs "woke up," Franklin wrote, and closed the score to within two points, but "just couldn't get over the hump." In Morgan's only loss of the day, Monroe won 40-36.
"The kids really impressed me with how they dug deep and fought to get back in the game and I was very pleased with that," Franklin wrote.
Thanks go out to Michael Carter, Nathaniel Williams, Derrick Worrell, Eric Benford, Thomas Davis, Kimberly Smith and the parents that volunteered their time and helped to make the Hoop Dogs summer league a success, Franklin wrote.
Printed in the August 2, 2012 edition.