By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan County’s girls’ basketball team finished third in the regular season seeding. The question was being asked whether this year’s team was down from the past three years. The Lady Dogs are now answering that question with a resounding, “NO.” The senior losses from a year ago and a state championship team were big. It looks like it just took some time for this team to figure things out and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
After winning the Region Tournament in convincing way over number one seed Franklin County, the girls have continued to roll through the competition thrown their way. They have defeated the last three opponents by a total score of 169-92. The run has catapulted Morgan into the Elite Eight to face their toughest competition of the State Tournament thus far.
Dawson County upset Lovett to get to this point in the tournament and is sitting on records of 11-17 overall and 5-7 in region play. The Lady Tigers defeated Lovett (17-11, 11-3) 72-61 coming into their region tournament as a number four seed. They lost in the region finals and have played well in the first two rounds.
The Lady Dogs took down Pierce County in convincing fashion last week 56-39. Does the name Tatyana Davis sound familiar? It should. Davis came out and put her team on her back scoring 12 of Morgan’s 16 first quarter points. She had 25 for the night. The Lady Bears had no answer for the Toledo commit. Salina Fortune also played big in the paint blocking several shots and making her presence known on the offensive and defensive boards. MOCO led 16-8 after eight minutes of play. Davis continued to assert herself in the second period scoring the first seven points for her team. The 14-0 run led to a 25-8 lead before Pierce could stop the bleeding. Fortune scored four and Aris Hubbard played hard inside scoring a basket before Davis made a steal and a spin move bucket at the buzzer to end the half 31-18.
The Lady Bears fought to within 10 in the third quarter before Morgan went on a 10-2 spurt to lead by 19 at 53-34. Autumn Woodard made her presence known in the second half with 10 points as did Lou Reid with eight of her own.
Coach Josh Reeves made these comments about the latest win, “We’re playing well at the right time. Pierce is a physical team and the refs let both teams play. After we opened up the margin early, it made things hard for them to come back. Tat was big for us, but I thought Autumn played well in the second half. Salina, like she’s done all season for us, made a big difference inside with her rebounding and five blocked shots. Aris is also stepping up with more conversions in the paint. We’ve been cutting down on the number of three’s we’re taking each game, but we still need three or four per game to open things up for more drives to the basket.”
Reeves gave us a little inside skinny on this week’s competition saying, “Dawson County has one very good guard that can shoot it, but they also have other shooters that can keep them in a lot of games. This is a program that’s always been dangerous. They have been consistently ranked in the top 10 and are always around when it comes state tournament time. The Sweet 16 round and this year’s Elite Eight seems to be where you always see them.”
Morgan will need a win this week to take another trip to the Final Four. Get out there and support both our teams this week.