Dogs clach with wildcats for state positioning

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By R. Alan Richardson sports editor

Saturday night’s boys contest was another battle of state-ranked elite opponents. Over the past two seasons the Dogs have been right there in many fans picks for a state championship when filling out their AAA brackets. This year looks to be more of the same as Morgan picked off the number one ranked team in Laney Saturday at home to solidify their place in either the number one or two spot in this coming week’s state rankings. Unlike the girls’ rematch, this one was a barn burner not over until the closing seconds of the game. Morgan took a 65-63 win between two teams that have become fierce rivals over the past few years and was the culmination of a great night of basketball.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-6 advantage on the scoring of Devorious Brown, Jailyn Ingram, and freshman Alec Woodard. Laney stormed back tying the score at 14 apiece with 54 seconds left before Woodard threw in a three-pointer off the backboard at the buzzer as time expired. Morgan led 17-14 after one. Brown helped the Dogs open up a nine point lead at 25-16 to start the second period by hitting two threes. The Wildcats were up to the task and clawed back to only trail 33-29 at the break. Brown had a monster half scoring 15 of Morgan’s 33 and 27 on the night. The second half showed the Dogs continuing the aggressive 2-3 zone they employed most of the evening that stifled Laney for the majority of the game. Brown was once again instrumental in Morgan taking a twelve point 49-37 lead at 1:03.

The senior first hit two free throws, followed that up with a tough driving layup and an alley-oop dunk before dropping in another deuce and two more free throws. The Dogs led 51-42 going into the final stanza. Morgan held the Wildcats at arms-length with a four to eight point lead until late in the game. With the Dogs leading 58-50 at the 3:26 mark Laney knocked down a free throw and came up with back-t0-back baskets to cut it to a two point game 60-58 with only 1:11 remaining. The Bulldogs then got a great assist from Emmanuel Little for the four-point lead and finished the game going 3-4 from the line for the two-point win. Leading scorers were Head Coach Jamond Sims made these comments, “Last night’s win started this past Wednesday as we tried to prepare for both Hart and Laney. We felt like we needed to play both teams very similarly in our 2-3 zone where we could identify both team’s guard shooters and penetrators. The guards for Laney are averaging 20+ points per game and Hart’s guards are also very sound.

The only slip up we had was off the tip against Laney where they scored, but we didn’t give up the lead after that even though they came close. Pooh (Brown) had a great game for us. He’s been on teams the past three years where he hasn’t had to be that much of an offensive threat even though he was explosive at times. He was a stopper that was a great teammate and very unselfish. This year you can see him growing into the role of not just being that but also understanding that he’s now one of our main offensive weapons. Tonight he changed the game with his offensive output. I was very proud of him. I was also proud to see our youngster, Alec Woodard the freshman, step up with 13 points in a big game. Next up for the Dogs will be East Jackson in another Region 8-AAA contest on Friday. Earlier this past week the boys polished off two region wins over Oconee County 57-32 on Tuesday and Hart County 61-27 on Friday.

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