By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan’s JV basketball teams got in some early work with the boys playing Tuesday and Friday against East Jackson and Jefferson. The girls took on Jefferson Friday. The young teams couldn’t come out with a win at home, but the games were all highly competitive. Morgan’s boys lost 51-47 to East Jackson and 40-32 to Jefferson in a low scoring game. The girls were defeated 60-33 by the Lady Dragons who connected on eight three-pointers in the first half and nine for the contest. That stat was a major factor in the game and seldom, if ever, seen in a JV game.
Tuesday’s contest against East Jackson’s boys was a tough loss for Morgan. The Dogs made a late comeback after trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter only to lose by four 51-47. Marquavious Wright spearheaded the late run scoring 10 points in the final period (12 total points in two quarters of action). Anauri Warren and Rogers Clark both had good outings offensively as well. Clark had 15 points and Warren followed that up with nine.
The Jefferson game again had the team falling behind and making another late comeback. This time it was freshman Malachi Hardy leading the charge. As a part-time substitute on the varsity finding more and more time at that level, Hardy was limited to only one quarter of play. Finding themselves trailing 36-17 late in the fourth period, Hardy took the team on his shoulders and scored nine of the next 13 points. The Bulldogs almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat, but it was a little too late. The final of 40-32 came after Jefferson made good on their last four free throws with less than six seconds on the clock.
Coach Milfred Franklin commented, “I thought we came out extremely flat on the defensive end. We had several opportunities to make easy baskets that we didn’t make. We played great the final nine minutes of the game with intensity and toughness. The first half we basically gave the game away with turnovers and not playing sound one-on-one man defense. I told the guys we can only use the excuse that we are a young team but for so long. From this point on it’s basically playing sound and simple basketball….either we step up to the challenge or continue to not learn from our mistakes.”
The girls’ lone game of the week featured a talented JV squad from Jefferson. An early indication of how the game would go was on the first offensive possession for the Lady Dragons. After missing their first shot, they went on to grab four consecutive offensive rebounds but failed to score. That stat would continue throughout the game and prove to be the undoing of the young team. Morgan scored the first two points of the afternoon, but Jefferson’s full court press was difficult for the Lady Dogs to figure out. Trailing 9-2 in the first quarter, and after a timeout by Coach Candi Wyatt, the girls regrouped and cut the lead to 12-9 at one point. That was as close as they would get for the night.
Jefferson took a 17-11 lead and controlled the scoreboard after that.
Highlights for Morgan included Trinesha Jones’ nine points, Reign Williams’ eight points, and the return of Aaliyah Cooper from an injury. She pitched in five points and Addrianna Lawrence scored seven in the losing cause.
Coach Candi Wyatt said, “I’m very proud of the improvements our JV team made despite losing to a good Jefferson program. Our girls have worked really hard the past couple of weeks on knowing where we should be on offense, our defensive transition and breaking a press. They were able to execute a lot better than they did in our season opener against Buford. The addition of Aaliyah Cooper, who had been out due to a knee injury, had a major impact for us facilitating the basketball.”
The JV boys played again this past Tuesday at Jackson County. Both teams will resume play after the Christmas break.