By R. Alan Richardson
What a difference a half makes. A close first half turned into a runaway second half as the Lady Dogs went on the road to defeat the Jackson County Lady Panthers in Region 8-AAA basketball action this week. With Morgan holding on to a slim 30-24 lead at halftime, the home team eventually folded under the relentless full court man-to-man pressure from MOCO. The girls outscored Jackson County 20-5 in the third period to run out to a 50-29 advantage to get a 63-34 win. Morgan is still undefeated in league play at 4-0 and has a 6-2 overall record. Hart County trails the Lady Dogs by a game at 3-0 with a showdown between these two rivals looming January 15 in Hartwell.
Junior Tamia Benford and senior Lou Reid provided most of the offensive firepower unofficially scoring 20 and 18 respectively. Other scorers were Miranda Powell-8, Neshay Cobb-5, Kourtney Elder-4, Taylor Wilson-2, Arkeisha Williams-2, Shay Brown-2. However, it was the defense in this one that was the catalyst that led to steals and turnovers that the Lady Dogs capitalized on and converted into layups and easy shots.
The first quarter included three early ties. With the game tied at 10-10, Morgan scored five straight points to go up 15-10. Cobb hit the second of two free throws with 1:50 on the clock and Powell hit a mid-range jump shot. Benford then hit two free throws after being fouled to get the lead. Jackson County made a layup at the end of the quarter for the 15-12 score.
Cold outside shooting didn’t help the Dogs’ cause in the first half that led to the six point halftime score. Reid and Benford scored all of Morgan’s 13 second quarter points, but the Lady Panthers made a layup at the buzzer that did not make Coach Josh Reeves happy…at all. Some would think that his halftime speech got their attention. It was all Morgan the final two periods. Reid and especially Benford were the recipients of some tenacious “D” that turned Jackson County over during the third quarter, forcing turnovers that led to fast break points coming off assists from the likes of Powell and Reid. It was more like the Head Coach was looking for. With the big lead going into the fourth, Reeves called off the Dogs, emptied his bench, and got some younger players into the fray.
The Lady Dogs participated in the Warlodge Classic this past weekend at Sequoyah High School and will next host the 18th annual Sweet South Classic the 27-29 at Morgan County. Details of both tournaments will be found in our next issue.