By Leila Dycus
The MCMS Bulldog Basketball kicked off their regular season this week.
The middle school basketball teams were busy this week starting off their regular season at home on Wednesday Dec. 4 against Carver. They then went on to the road to face Youth in Walton on Friday Dec. 6 and Greene County on Saturday Dec.7.
“It always good to have home court advantage on your first regular season game,” said the boys head coach Milfred Franklin. “It’s gives the players a normal feel because this is the gym they’ve been working so hard in over the last month getting ready for this particular day.”
Although the MCMS boys had the home court advantage, they trailed in the second quarter. Coach Franklin encouraged the defense from the sideline to “man up, man up.” The boys listened, keeping up with the Wildcats. The boys trailed Carver 14 to 12 at the half.
In the locker room, Coach Franklin talked to the boys about improving their one pass away man defense with getting closer to their defender. According to Franklin, the boys had too much space between them and the men they were guarding. With their minds focused on the game and not their surroundings they boys came back ready to finish the game.
In the third quarter, Carver was the first to score, but MCMS was right behind them scoring early on in the quarter.
With that motivation, the Bulldog boys were able to tie up the game. After tying up, the Morgan County team took the lead. The third quarter featured some major three-point shots.
According to the coach, Alec Woodard and Austin Hoopengardner hit some big threes, which enabled them to keep the offensive push going. Jordan Huff played very well throughout the entire game with his pressuring the ball and overall intensity on the court.
By the end of the third quarter, the Dogs were leading 29 to 18 over the Wildcats. The team would maintain this lead throughout the forth quarter.
The MCMS Bulldogs pulled out their first regular season win over the Carver Wildcats 41 to 23.
According to Coach Franklin, the first game against Carver taught the boys a lot. The guys did a much better job of boxing out the defensive end of the court and not allowing teams to get two and three shots during their possessions. However, the coach feels the team still needs to work on their consistency on defense and converting routine easy baskets.
With the win over Carver, the MCMS boys went on to face Youth in Walton. Coach Franklin predicted that it would be very mentally tough and a physical game.
“We didn’t handle the pressure they put on us very well but we still game out with the victory,” said Coach Franklin.
The first quarter against Youth had the two teams tied at 8. The second quarter had the Dogs leading 18 to 17. In the third quarter, the MCMS and Youth were tied at 25. However, it was the Dogs that pulled ahead late in the game, beating Youth 37 to 32.
According to Coach Franklin, the MCMS boys went 9 for 31 from the free throw line and committed several unforced turnovers. The team went on to force two key turnovers, which allowed the team to take the lead late in the game. Coach Franklin went on to say that with both teams struggling from the free throw line led to those two baskets being very important during the last two minutes of the game.
“Even though we were able to slide by Friday’s game with certain mistakes, we weren’t able to with Greene County,” said Coach Franklin.
On Dec. 7 the MCMS Bulldogs took on Greene County. The coach went on to say “this game was a game where we didn’t have the mental toughness to handle them.“ Trailing by four in the first quarter the Dogs struggled to keep up.
By the end of the half, the Greene lead Morgan 22 to 9. According to Coach Franklin Green County capitalized on the Bulldog’s mistakes and when they had the opportunity to score they just couldn’t find the basket.
The game taught Coach Franklin that they need to develop a hunger take no prisoner’s attitude when they step on the floor.
The third quarter was not much different for the Bulldogs, trailing 15 to 28. The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season to Greene County, 25 to 33.
“Once the players see and understand that they must bring their best day in and day out, then they will develop that grit which is needed to win games,” said Coach Franklin.
On Sunday Dec. 8, the sixth and seventh grade basketball team played against Oconee County Middle School. The Bulldogs lost 27 to 29.