By Alvin Richardson
The Morgan County Bulldogs flexed their muscles this past week easily running past an overmatched Lumpkin County team by a score of 82-33 on Thursday afternoon and then turning back a determined squad from Central Macon High School in a 69-61 win this past Saturday night. Those two wins put the Dogs into the quarterfinals of the state tournament. They are set to go up against the South Atlanta High Hornets on Wednesday, February 25th. The Hornets are 27-4 on the season and ranked 3rd in the state polls. Since both teams were region champions and number one seeds a coin flip will determine home court advantage.
Coach Jamond Sims was understandably upbeat after the win and said, “I’m extremely proud of the resilience our guys displayed. They fought through some uncharacteristic turnovers and mistakes after starting the game nearly flawless.” Sims went on, “I’ve never seen them get rattled or doubt their ability. The strength of our non-region schedule is becoming more apparent.”
Morgan County opened the contest versus Central Macon with a torrid shooting hand and opened up a 21-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Dogs scored thirteen unanswered points to start the game and it looked like another blowout but the Chargers steadied and began to climb back into the game. They outscored the Dogs twenty to eleven in the second quarter and cut the margin to 32-26 by intermission. It was pretty much hand to hand combat from that point on.
Early in the third period Morgan extended their lead to seven points on a trey by Jailyn Ingram and the Bulldogs looked like they were righting the ship but Central rattled off six straight points from the 6:47 mark to the 5:27 mark and closed to within a single point at 37-36. A couple of minutes later the Bulldogs responded with a seven point run of their own when Al Reid hit a three point shot and Tookie Brown slashed inside the lane twice for field goals. Morgan led 48-40 with 2:51 left in the third quarter but Central simply wouldn’t go away.
The Chargers came storming back with two shots from long range in the next minute and reduced the lead back to two points at 48-46 with 1:39 remaining in the period. Jailyn Ingram rocked the rim on a thunder dunk with fifty eight seconds left in the quarter. Morgan kept pace but they couldn’t get any significant breathing room on the scoreboard and the quarter ended with the Dogs leading 54-51.
In the final stanza Central got within a single point three more times but each time the defending state champs had an answer. The Chargers made it 54-53 early in the quarter but Devorious Brown hit a driving layup to put Morgan up by three. Two minutes later Central reduced the margin to 58-57 and once again Morgan County answered. This time it came via two free throws from Tookie Brown. Central Macon got it to a single point once more at the 3:00 minute mark but a free throw by Devorious Brown and an old fashioned three point play by Tookie Brown upped the lead to five with 1:21 left in the contest. The Dogs simply wouldn’t give up that slender lead.
Morgan County finally iced the game when Tookie Brown hit two free throws and Deshaven Reynolds got loose for a dunk to give the Dogs a 68-61 edge with thirty seconds left. Joseph Rogers added a free throw to account for the final margin of victory.
Tookie Brown led all scorers with 32 points with 18 of those coming in the second half and he was supported by Jailyn Ingram who added 19 of his own. Also scoring for the Dogs were Al Reid with 9 points, Joseph Rogers with 5 and Devorious Brown with 4. Additionally Stacion McClelland chipped in 3 and Deshaven Reynolds had 2 points.
First Round Game versus Lumpkin County
On February 19th the Lumpkin County’s Indians left a bunch of icy weather in Dahlonega and traveled to Madison for the opening round of the state basketball tournament. As things turned out they probably should have just left the bus running. Morgan County treated their visitors in rude fashion outscoring them 82-33 as the Dogs vaulted into the second round of the tournament.
The Indians got things started by neatly stealing the tip and sprinting for a layup and a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for Lumpkin that was their lone highlight and only lead of the evening. From that point on the roof fell in on them.
Morgan led 23-6 after one quarter and widened that margin to 48-16 by halftime and the hay was pretty much in the barn by then. Coach Jamond Sims used his bench liberally for most of the second half as his #4 ranked Bulldogs won this one handily. After Lumpkin County’s initial score the Dogs went to work. Al Reid hit a three point shot and then Tookie Brown found Jailyn Ingram on a lob pass for a monster dunk that delighted the Morgan County faithful. After the Indian’s made a free throw to make it 5-3 the Bulldogs ran off fourteen straight points to take a 19-3 lead with 2:37 left in the opening period.
It got worse for the visiting Indians. Between the 2:37 mark of the first quarter and the 5:45 mark of the second period Morgan outscored Lumpkin County 13 to 5 and stretched their advantage to 32-8. Lumpkin County made it to double digits when they got a goal-tending call but Morgan County then rattled off six straight points on two free throws by Ingram followed by a layup and a dunk by Tookie Brown. Morgan’s lead bulged to thirty two points when Devorious Brown hit a short jump shot with ten seconds left in the half and the Dogs took a 48-16 to the dressing room.
It was academic after that but the Dogs kept their foot on the gas pedal and outscored Lumpkin County by seventeen points in the third stanza. That made it 72-23 and Coach Sims played his reserves exclusively after that.
Tookie Brown led the scoring parade with 27 points and 17 of those came in the first half. Jailyn Ingram, Al Reid and Devorious Brown all hit double digits with 14, 13, and 10 respectively. Also scoring for Morgan County were Stacion McClelland with 8 and Damarious Thomas with 4. Joseph Rogers and Jason Dowdell also chipped in 2 points each in the winning effort.