By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan’s basketball squad took on two South Georgia teams last week in the McDonald’s Classic at Tift County and came home with two W’s. They defeated the Westover Patriots 57-50 in their first outing and outran the Bainbridge Bearcats 70-63 on day two. Westover is most famous for winning six state basketball championships in the 1990’s when they totally dominated the sport in Georgia. Bainbridge can boast that UGA’s head football coach, Kirby Smart, is one of their distinguished alumni.
Thursday’s contest was a tale of two halves. The Dogs were outscored in both the first and second quarters by the tune of 25-19 and had an uphill battle at the break. However, they turned the tables on Westover in the final two periods by outscoring the opposition 40-25 to grab the win. The exception to that statement was the consistent play of team leaders and leading scorers Tyrin Lawrence and Alec Woodard. The two stars combined for 15 of the Dogs’ 19 points in the first half just to keep things close. After the break they accounted for 27 of the second half scoring and combined for 42 of their team’s 57. No other Morgan player hit double digits on the night. MOCO did an excellent job at the free throw line, especially in the second half, going 10-11 and knocked down 12 of 15 on the night.
Day two saw the team come out a little slow again against Bainbridge. Fortunately, the Bearcats were lethargic as well and after eight minutes of play the score was tied at 12-apiece. Six players scored for the Dogs in a balanced, albeit sluggish, attack. Lawrence, Woodard, and Josiah Mitchell gave the squad a lift in the second period with six, seven, and four points respectively. Morgan tallied 19 in the quarter to Bainbridge’s 12 for the 31-24 lead heading into the locker room.
The game was tight throughout the second half as the Dogs only outscored the Bearcats by two over the final 16 minutes. In the third it was balanced scoring again with seven players tossing in buckets or making free throws. Morgan got 18 points out of the magnificent seven and was led by Anthony Cooper’s four.
Woodard got cranked up with 11 points in the final quarter to stave off Bainbridge. It was a good thing, too. The Bearcats matched the Bulldogs basket for basket with both teams adding 21 for the final score of 70-63. Leading scorers for Morgan were Woodard with 17, Cooper with 16, and Lawrence with 12.
Next up: Sweet South Classic at MCHS Wednesday-Friday December 28-30