For many years in high school basketball, there were no end-of-year tournaments for Junior Varsity squads to compete in. That seems like a shame as teams need a way to end their season on a high note and have something to play and practice for. Today, a lot of schools are now hosting their version of a ‘Region/Area Tournament’ for local JV teams to compete in.
Morgan County was fortunate enough to be invited to play in the East Jackson JV Tournament this year that featured the Bulldogs, Hart County, Jackson County, and East Jackson. The girls came away with the Tournament Championship while the boys fell just shy of winning the title, losing in the finals to host East Jackson.
The girls went into the tournament as the number two seed tied with Jackson County. They squared off with Hart County in the first round, coming away with a 47-35 win. Coach Candi Wyatt said, “Our girls came out ready to play and did a really good job pushing the tempo of the game. We had a really good second quarter, which gave us a 26-17 lead at the half. We knew what we had to do to make it to the Championship game so our girls did a GREAT job of maintaining the lead and taking care of the basketball in the second half to get the victory.”
Tamia Benford led the Lady Dogs in scoring with 14, and Miracle Hunter added 12. Neshay Cobb and Addrianna Lawrence each had eight while both Arkisha Williams and Kourtney Elder chipped in three points each.
“In the championship game against East Jackson, Benford, Williams, and Elder led us to our best start of the year; scoring sixteen points in the first quarter,” said Coach Wyatt. “Our girls played a tough, hands-up zone defense. They did a great job boxing out, getting rebounds, and hustling for lose balls.”
Coach Wyatt also praised Tiana Adams for her defense in the fourth quarter, taking back-to-back charges. Wyatt continued, “After losing last year in the title game, our focus was to play solid defense, limit our turnovers, and finish the easy buckets.”
Seven girls scored, with Benford leading all scores with 18, and Williams added 11. Both were season highs. The championship was 51-38.
Morgan’s boys took care of Hart County in the first round. “Overall I was pleased with the improvement we made as a team. Aaron Mullins had a tremendous semifinal game controlling the paint and scoring inside,” said Coach Milfred Franklin.
In the Championship game, the Bulldogs played solid in the opening half but couldn’t hang on to bring the trophy home. Franklin again commented, “During the game we played great early and in the first half, but we seemed to start playing on our heels after that. This enabled East Jackson to get a little momentum, and it allowed them to dictate the rest of the game.” MOCO lost by only six points 42-36.
He summarized things with, “I look forward to this group getting better in all aspects of the game and excited to see what lies in store for them next year.”