By Nick Nunn staff writer
In a whirlwind week for Bulldog basketball, the Morgan County High School (MCHS) Hoop Dogs and Lady Dogs stood tall as the 8-AAA Region Champs after defeating Franklin County and Elbert County, respectively, before pushing their way through the first round of the state tournament.
Monday night, the Lady Dogs made it to the Elite Eight with a 67-55 win over Dawson County, and, Tuesday, the boys were preparing to face East Hall for their ticket to the state semifinals.
Last Tuesday, Feb. 18, the Lady Dogs were set to go up against the number-one seed in the region tournament, the Franklin County Lions for the region championship game.
The Lady Dogs built a six-point lead in the first quarter against Franklin, and they had created a comfortable 26-18 cushion by the end of the first quarter.
Morgan County didn’t let up in the second half, outscoring the Lady Lions in the third quarter as well and then holding onto the lead for a 47-36 win to bring themselves the region championship title.
Still riding the high from Tuesday’s championship game, the Lady Dogs began their bid in the state tournament with a home game against Blessed Trinity, the fourth-ranked team from region 6-AAA.
Blessed Trinity’s aggressive play was enough to disrupt the Lady Dogs’ sense of fluidity in the first quarter and allow Blessed Trinity to gain a 13-9 lead.
By the end of the half, however, the Dogs had rallied, scoring 18 points to Blessed Trinity’s nine points and taking a 27-22 lead. Morgan County continued to dominate through the rest of the game, sweeping on to the second round of the tournament with a 68-51 win against Blessed Trinity.
On Monday, Feb. 24, the Lady Dogs hosted Dawson County for their second round at home. Through the first, the teams were evenly matched, with Morgan County coming out with a razor-thin 19-18 lead over Dawson.
After the first half, the teams were still locked in tight, but Morgan County was still up 29-26. In the second half, the Dogs began to break away from Dawson County, extending their three-point lead at the half to a 14-point lead. Dawson County wasn’t able to fight back in the fourth quarter, and Morgan County picked up their ticket to the Elite Eight with a 67-55 win.
“It’s great to have made it to the elite eight,” said MCHS Head Girls Basketball Coach Joshua Reeves. “The girls have been working hard all season and they deserve to be where they are. I am very proud of their strong work ethic and desire they bring everyday.” “At this point in the season it’s all about watching film and making subtle adjustments if we have to,” said Coach Reeves about getting the team prepared for the rest of the tournament.
“We are not going to change our game too much for anyone. Hopefully teams have to make adjustments to us.”
The boys’ Region Championship win against rival Elbert County marked the Hoop Dogs’ third consecutive region title.
Elbert County was able to hang in with the Dogs through the first quarter, but, before halftime, Morgan County had blown the game out of the water with a 41-18 lead. The Blue Devils were never able to make up the 20-point deficit, and Morgan County picked up a confident 69-46 win to place them securely as the number-one team in the region.
The Hoop Dogs transferred the dominant performance that they gave against Elbert County directly into the first quarter of their first state playoff game against Woodward Academy, when they held Woodward to only two points to Morgan County’s 18 points.
Morgan County was still leading 32-15 at the end of the first half, and the Dogs maintained their lead through the remainder of the game to secure a 58-43 win against Woodward Academy.
Tuesday night, the Hoop Dogs took on East Hall at home for their second game of the state playoffs. The results were not available by press time.
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, the Lady Dogs faced St. Pius, the top-ranked team in Region 6-AAA, at the MCHS gym in the quarterfinal game of the state playoffs.
Pending a win against East Hall on Tuesday, the boys will play their quarterfinal game at home on Thursday, Feb. 27, against an undetermined opponent. Stay updated with the Citizen’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as the week goes on for scores and game times.