By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County boys’ basketball team faced off against West Hall and Dacula this past weekend in the Spartan Shootout and came away with two big wins and the first place trophy. West Hall offered little resistance in a 67-28 blowout. West Hall’s Xzavice Reid scored 19 of his team’s 28. Dacula presented the Dogs a much tougher game and opponent as Morgan prevailed 67-54.
The West Hall game was over early as Morgan took a 19-3 lead after eight minutes with Tyrin Lawrence and Alec Woodard leading the way offensively. The Dogs were just too quick and athletic for the Spartans to compete with. It was 41-13 at the half and Morgan coasted from there.
Leading scorers for MOCO were Woodard with 22 and Lawrence with 15. Austin Hoopengardner had five points in the fourth quarter in limited playing time as the second unit cleaned up the mess that was left by the first unit.
Saturday night had the Bulldogs pitted against AAAAAA (6A) opponent Dacula. Prior to the contest the Falcons were sporting a 6-3 record, but that was soon to change. Morgan had to come from behind in this one to take the victory. The first quarter was dead even at 15-15. Lawrence, Jermaine Alexander, and Josiah Mitchell kept things close in the early going. Dacula took a 20-13 second quarter to carry them into the break leading by seven 35-28.
Morgan came out firing in the third period 22-13 to grab a slim 50-48 advantage going into the final quarter. Coach Jamond Sims must have given the team some “get after it on defense” medicine during the break between quarters. The Dogs’ defense held the Falcons to a measly nine points while scoring 13 of their own to take the win and the trophy.
Josiah Mitchell had a monster game scoring 14 points, Lawrence was high scorer with 22, and Woodard hit 8-9 free throws down the stretch to help seal the deal (15 for the night).
Coach Jamond Sims said, “The two wins this weekend were much needed, in order for the guys to get their defensive confidence back. They understand that they can score points with the best of them, but must fine tune our team defense. The West Hall win gave us an opportunity to see several players contribute. This continues to prove to everyone the depth of the team. The staff and players were both locked in on the Dacula game, as it was a tough win against a quality opponent (They were #6 in AAAAAA at the time). Two more road games against South Georgia teams (Westover & Bainbridge) before hosting he Sweet South Classic, in which our first opponent with be Butler (#4 in AA).”
Next up for the Bulldogs will be a trip to Tift County to compete in the McDonald’s Christmas Classic held over two days, Friday and Saturday, December 23 and 24. After that the annual Sweet South Classic, that is always welcomed by the community, will be held on our home courts Wednesday-Friday, December 28-30.