By R. Alan Richardson
If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy the style of basketball our Middle Schoolers are playing, you are missing out. The future looks bright for our Morgan County High School teams as the talent just keeps on comings. Two reasons for being positive are the two head coaches, Bo Larkins coaches the boys and veteran Brian Cousins oversees the girls. Both men try to mirror the high school system these young players will be a part of next year or the year after. It’s up-tempo, hard-nosed, and fun to watch with their hustling style.
The girls took a close win in a nail biter over Greene County 41-39 while the boys won 53-47. All those in attendance got their money’s worth on Eighth Grade Appreciation Night for players and cheerleaders. This would be the final hoorah at home for many of these players.
The Lady Dogs trailed after the first quarter 13-9 with Miracle Hunter scoring six of the total inside. Greene took the lead by scoring the final eight points of the period including two three-pointers. Adrianna Lawrence took over for Morgan in the second stanza scoring eight of the team’s 14 total points. This time it was the home team Bulldogs closing the half out strong pulling with one point at 24-23. Tamya Smith also had a good quarter.
The second half kept all the fans in a packed house on the edge of their seats until the final horn sounded. After the Lady Tigers scored six straight to lead off the third quarter, Morgan stormed back to tie the score at 30 apiece with 3:25 remaining. The quarter ended with the Lady Dogs trailing 35-30. Lawrence was again big with five points in the period.
Greene went cold in the fourth and the Lady Dogs took advantage. With only 1:20 remaining in the game, Morgan took the lead at 38-37. After Hunter made a free throw Greene answered back with two charity stripe makes to tie things up at 39 each with 18.2 seconds. Aaliyah Cooper came up with a huge in the fourth scoring six for the home team. No two were bigger than the two pressure free throws she made with 16 seconds left in the contest to take the lead and the win 41-39.
Lawrence led the scoring with 15, Cooper tossed in 13, and Hunter added 12 in the win.
Just when you thought you could take a breath and relax a little, the boys’ game started. It was a wild and crazy 24 minutes of basketball between two extremely quick and aggressive teams. They flat went after each other from tip to final buzzer.
There were four ties and four lead changes in the first quarter alone. Desmond White hit a three and a two point bucket to lead the way as the Dogs led 11-9 after the first period. Morgan took a 22-15 advantage into the half on the superb play of White and Denver Laughlin. The two combined for ten of the team’s 11 points. Laughlin was a rebounding machine during the period and throughout the game.
Someone put a lid on Morgan’s basket in the third quarter while Greene reeled off 12 straight tying the game at 25-25 on a three-pointer that had the Tiger faithful in a frenzy. The Dogs regained their composure and recovered to go ahead at 31-27, but they were still a little short by quarter’s end 32-31.
In the final six minutes there were three early ties until Morgan took the two point lead at 42-40. This was a lead they would never lose. The last two minutes had Morgan playing keep away and making free throws. They made good on 6-8 during that span. The 53-47 win was well-deserved and one that had to be fought for. White led all scorers with 21 points followed closely by Laughlin with 16, and Ty Butler who finished with eight.
This weekend the Middle School teams will participate in the PAC Super Saturday Tournament at Putnam County. Action begins at 10 am.