By R. Alan Richardson Sports Editor
The city of Madison, Georgia and all of Morgan County was all but closed down on Saturday as hundreds of Bulldog fans made the 60 mile trip to Macon to watch both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams vie for state championships. Our fans took over the Coliseum early in the day on a white out night in a sea of red, black, and white. It was a Seth Strong night to remember. The Lady Dogs faced the Jackson-Atlanta High School Lady Warriors, a team that was 30-1 on the season that had never won a state playoff game going back to the old days when the school was then Southside. Morgan came into the game on a 24 game winning streak dating back to early December trying to make it 25 in the biggest game of their lives. Both teams were touted for great guard play and that turned out to be the story of the night. Junior Tatyana Davis and seniors Pumpkin Brown and Sydney Nash did not disappoint as the Lady Dogs took home the title 68-61. Davis came into the contest averaging 19 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists on the season. She came out of the locker room with a chip on her shoulder and scored 10 of Morgan’s first 19 points in the first quarter. She would end the game with 32. Nash added five and was all over the boards and grabbing loose balls in her usual tenacious style. The girls finished the quarter on a 15-4 run in the last 4:15 to take 19-9 lead after the first period.
The Lady Jaguars began to push back in the second quarter at the free throw line. Their aggressive one-on-one drives resulted in them shooting 14 free throws in those eight minutes that allowed them to stay on pace with Morgan. Davis went cold, but Nash, Brown, Lou Reid and Brittany Belser picked up the slack. Those four players accounted for 15 of the team’s 16 points before the break. MOCO took a nine-point lead into halftime 35-26. Coach Reeves said at half, “Pumpkin is the heart of our team. She’s a gamer and working her butt off out there like she always does.” Nash’s motor and energy were a big part of the team’s success in the first half and the entire game. It was all Davis in the third quarter. She put on an offensive and defensive clinic that won’t be equaled for a long time. After Taleah Adams scored the first two points of the second half, Tat (Davis) scored the next 12 points for Morgan on two three-pointers and three layups out of fast break opportunities. It was a good thing she did. Jackson came out and went on an 11-4 run to cut the score to 39-37 midway through the period before Davis did most of her damage and Morgan not allowing them to score a basket the remainder of the way. Jackson was 5-9 from the free throw line over that time.
The Lady Dogs led 49-41, but you could see the fatigue weighing in on the Lady Jaguars. Morgan’s depth and pressure was beginning to take its toll on their opponents. In the final period the Lady Dogs were obviously the superior team as they went on a 17-7 run to take a 16 point 66-48 lead with 3:25 remaining. Reeves emptied his bench at that point. “It’s been a busy week with the birth of our second son, Henry, and a state championship game. We talked about it earlier in the week that wouldn’t it be great to win a state championship and have a baby in the same week. They worked hard this week. I’m just glad that we have a great staff that took things over when I couldn’t be there. The coaches responded and ran practice like we always do. I’m just proud of everybody in our organization.” said Reeves. Guard Sydney Nash commented about the title saying, “We improved so much and have been together for so long. We could have been here multiple times, but we pulled it through and got it done.” Pumpkin Brown said, “This is amazing. Glory to God. We knew we could do something special after those three early losses so we worked hard to get here. We’ve got the best fans in the world.” Davis was quoted in the AJC as saying, “We weren’t expected to be here, but we made it by the grace of God. I’m just proud to be here to represent my Grandma. She never missed a game, and I know she’s proud of me.” Her grandmother died from complications of breast cancer and Tat was wearing a t-shirt with her photo on it. It was a perfect ending to a special season.