By R. Alan Richardson
In Tuesday’s home opener the Lady Dogs basketball team took a tough four-point loss to the Jefferson Lady Dragon 64-60. Jefferson returns all five starters that competed in the same region last year as Morgan (8-AAA). Due to reclassification they have moved up a notch to AAAA for the next two years. They finished second to Morgan a year ago in region competition. Needless to say, they have a solid nucleus and are one of the best the Lady Dogs will face this season.
Jefferson took first blood, but Morgan scored eight straight unanswered points to take an early 8-2 and later a 13-7 lead. It was 13-11 after Jefferson scored the last four points of the first stanza. Autumn Woodard had six points to lead the attack.
It was sloppy in the early going with both teams employing full-court pressure tactics and the turnovers hurt both teams. Jefferson came out firing in the second quarter scoring the first nine points. They grabbed a 20-13 advantage before Tatyana Davis took the team on her shoulders scoring the next 10 Bulldog points that included two three-pointers. That spurt cut into the lead while Woodard ended the half with another three. It was 29-26 Dragons at the half.
The second half was a back-and-forth event with several lead exchanges. Morgan finally gained the lead in the third at 34-31. Sarah Couch and Woodard were the players responsible for the charge with each scoring four in the early going. Couch ended the quarter with eight points and the Lady Dogs were down only one at 45-44 when the horn sounded.
The fourth was again a knock-down, drag-out affair. Davis and Alisha Ellis hit back-to-back three’s to start things off and take a 50-45 advantage before the Dragons answered back. A three-pointer followed by two straight scores put Jefferson right back in the driver’s seat at 52-50. The turning point in the game came when the visitors scored eight straight including two more three’s. It was the dagger that the Lady Dogs couldn’t come back from losing 64-60 in a great basketball game of two worthy opponents.
Friday night the Lady Dogs went down to a good Cedar Shoals team 53-52. Here’s how Coach Reeves described the loss. “We were up most of the basketball game and surrendered the lead with a couple of minutes to go in the game. We just couldn’t put Cedar away and they hung around till the end. Autumn Woodard stepped up and hit a big three with less than a minute to go to put us ahead, but a weak side rebound and layup on the other end killed us with about 25 seconds to go. Even though we lost, we played our best team game all season. It was a shame we lost because it is hard to say that when you feel like you gave a game away, but it was the truth.” Davis had 18 and Woodard had 14 to lead the Morgan scoring.
Putnam County rolled into town on Saturday in a long-awaited rivalry renewable that goes back to the beginning of high school basketball in this area. They were totally overmatched in this one as the Lady Dogs took a 66-35 win. I think that Coach Reeves must have given Tatyana Davis a W-2 before the game as she flat out went to work scoring 31 on the night and 20 of the first half total (33) for the Dogs. She was in a zone that most players will never know about.
Morgan ran out to a 10-0 lead and continued putting the pressure on in the first period. Davis had 14 of the 21 total to spearhead the 21-8 lead after one quarter. The Lady War Eagles would get as close as 11 twice in the second quarter before Davis went off again spurring a 10-point run for MOCO. It was 33-15 Morgan lead at intermission.
The Lady Dogs came out of halftime ready to put the War Eagles to rest and that’s exactly what they did by scoring the first 15 points to go up by 30 at 48-18. Davis had nine and Saline Fortune added six in the third. Morgan led 52-24 at that point.
Tamia Benford and Morgan Walker had excellent fourth quarters scoring six points each to clean up the game that ended 66-35.
Reeves commented, “We played a total team game Saturday. Team defense and electric offense. Tot had 20 in the first half and finished with 31 for the night. Salina Fortune finally had a more break out game for her with nine points, 10 rebounds, and seven blocks. Everyone played much better and we hope to take that momentum to Wesleyan on Friday.”