By R. Alan Richardson
It was a good week for Morgan County Lady Bulldog action as the girls easily dispatched East Jackson in a blowout win 95-37 before taking down the Jefferson Lady Dragons 60-52. Jefferson was previously ranked number three in Class AAA ahead of Morgan at number eight. All that will change after what some might call an upset win. It’s certain that MOCO didn’t feel that way with the team they have right now.
The East Jackson game was no contest from the start. Tamia Benford and Miranda Powell took control of this one early and often scoring 23 of Morgan’s 34 first quarter points. Benford had 13 while Powell added 10 as the girls ran out to a 34-7 first quarter lead. That lead ballooned to 54-17 at halftime. The defensive pressure of the Dogs was simply too much for the Lady Eagles with turnovers turning into layups for Morgan throughout the first half. This one was decided early and gave the girls a second Region win in so many games.
Jefferson’s girls came in highly touted and highly ranked this past Friday, but it was Morgan that came out firing. After taking an early 8-0 advantage, Jefferson took a timeout and went to some full court zone pressure that had the Lady Dogs confused. The Lady Dragons went on a 10-0 run to take the lead back and the game was on.
Neshay Cobb and Kourtney Elder scored back-to-back buckets near the end of the quarter to give the team a spark. It was 16-15 in Jefferson’s favor when the buzzer sounded to end the first stanza.
The lead went back-and-forth for the next three quarters. Lou Reid began to assert herself from her point guard position and Powell hit a three-pointer right before the half, but it was Jefferson holding on to a slim 34-26 margin at the half.
After the intermission, Jefferson took their largest lead of the game at 47-35 before MOCO came storming back. Reid led the charge scoring eight straight to pull Morgan to within three points before Benford ended the quarter with a basket to bring the team to within one at 48-47. With 5:17 remaining in the final period, Morgan tied the game on a Reid free throw at 48-all and then sprinted out to a six point advantage before Jefferson called timeout at 56-50 with 2:04 left to play.
The final two minutes weren’t exactly what Coach Josh Reeves would have liked to see. The Lady Dogs missed the front end of one-and-one free throws on three straight trips to the charity stripe. Once in the double bonus, the Lady Dogs still couldn’t find the range making only four of eight from the line. Fortunately for Morgan, the Lady Dragons could only manage a single field goal during that stretch and it was MOCO coming away with the 60-52 win. That drought was attributed to some outstanding defense from the Lady Dogs at crunch time.
Coach Reeves commented about the wins, “It was a tough game vs. a very tough opponent in the Jefferson Lady Dragons. They were all long and athletic. It was a game of runs and we ended up with the last one. Lou Reid dominated late in the third and into the fourth quarters showing why she is a Captain and leader of this team. She finished with 16 points. NeShay Cobb had a career night with 10 points and well over 10 rebounds. She hit some big short range jumpers when the game was on the line. Tamia Benford and Miranda Powell changed the tide of the game on the defensive end by locking down their two best players. Miranda didn’t score much, but did everything she could to disrupt Jefferson’s offense. Tamia ended the game with 17 points in one of her best offensive efforts of the season and her career.”
With this week’s wins, the Lady Dogs are now 5-2 on the season and undefeated (3-0) in 8-AAA play. The next contests for Morgan will be this weekend as they travel to Alpharetta to compete in the Sequoyah Warrior Classic Thursday through Saturday. Note: They also played Jackson County this past Tuesday night. Results will be in next week’s issue which will come out early on Saturday before Christmas on Dec. 22.