By R. Alan Richardson
The hardcourt Dogs will join the Lady Dogs in the GHSA State Basketball Tournament’s Elite Eight this week after they dismantled Tattnall County to the tune of an 82-55 blowout. It only took one quarter of play to see that Morgan was the more talented team. The home team used multiple three-foourths and one-half court traps along with their scrappy half court man-to-man defense to run out to a first period 27-8 lead. Sophomore Tyrin Lawrence scored 11 of Morgan’s total in the quarter along with balanced offense and turnovers caused by deflections were the key. Morgan is riding an eleven game winning streak after defeating Tattnall.
The Warriors fell behind by 23 points at 33-10 in the second after baskets by Anthony Cooper, De’Ivion Lawrence, and Latrabius Stokes However, Morgan went cold after that and were outscored by Tattnall 10-0 right before halftime. Tyrin Lawrence hit a big three-pointer at the buzzer to end the half giving Morgan a 38-20 lead.
During the third period it was back-and-forth with Tattnall holding their own. The Dogs traded baskets for most of the period, but asserted themselves late in the quarter to go up by 24. The Warriors ended the quarter scoring the final seven points and cutting into the lead at 55-38.
Free throw shooting and tight whistles played a big role in the final 10 minutes of the game. The Dogs shot 71 percent from the charity stripe on 15-21 shooting. The Dogs closed out the game on a nine-point to secure the 82-55 win. Alec Woodard had eight in the final period and 25 for the night. His backcourt mate Ty Lawrence ended the game with 20. These super sophomores are going to be a thorn in opposing coaches’ sides for a long time.
Morgan’s Elite Eight opponent will be Lovett. The Region 5-AAA opponent was 20-10 on the regular season and a number two seed coming into the State Tournament. The Dogs will play at home due to their number one seeding over Lovett’s being a number two. To get to the Elite Eight, the Lions defeated Greater Atlanta Christian in the first round 62-58 and Crisp County 72-69 in the second. They are no stranger to playoff basketball and have played in some tough games coming into the Dog House this week. A win sends them back to the Final Four for the fourth straight year. Let’s pray that our boys have their big boy shoes on for this one. It should be a dandy. Go Dogs!