By R. Alan Richardson
Six games in 10 days is tough for any team. After taking a tough loss at the hands of AAAAAA opponent Langston-Hughes 50-42 Monday the Morgan County hardcourt Dogs came back strong with three wins this week over Jefferson 68-59 in overtime, Jackson County 74-50 on Senior Night, and Hart County 66-55 in the season’s final home game.
The 2018-19 team is senior-laden with the likes of four-year starter Alec Woodard and three-year starters Stevin Greene and Tyrin Lawrence. These three guys will be hard for Coach Jamond Sims to replace. Others like Nolan Causwell, injured KJ Wyatt, Tyler Carter, and Malik Crawford have all played integral roles throughout this year’s campaign and will be sorely missed as well.
In the meantime, the Bulldogs are now facing a final road game with Monroe Area (played Tuesday), the Region Tournament to be hosted by Hart County, and the State Playoffs. Nothing short of a State Championship is going to satisfy this group of hungry seniors. This is their final hoo-rah and they would like nothing more than to go out with a ring.
Woodard has been on an offensive tear of late scoring 23 at Jefferson, 11 on Senior Night, and 31 in his final home game in front of his Bulldog fans in a big win over Hart. Lawrence and Greene continue to strut their stuff as well. Lawrence had 15, 19, and 25 for the week while Greene is also contributing at a high level offensively. One highlight of the week was Greene’s monster dunk on Senior Night. The 5’7” senior caught an alley-oop pass from Woodard and tomahawked a one-handed slam that brought the crowd to their feet and onto the floor. It was his first of the season and possibly the first of his career.
In the Jefferson win, Trent Folds had one of his better outings of the season with seven points going 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line. He also grabbed six boards to go along with three steals and a block in the overtime victory. Morgan missed a last-second three-pointer for the regulation win and went on to hold the Dragons scoreless in overtime while scoring nine in the extra period to stay perfect in Region 8-AAA play.
Jackson County came in on Senior Night hoping for an upset. For two quarters it looked like they might do just that. However, the Dogs came out after intermission on a mission and took home the twenty four point win after trailing 36-35 at the half. The Panthers’ Kedric Zimmer (sophomore) hit seven three-pointers in the first half to keep Morgan stymied. AJ Brown took the assignment on him in the second half to hold him scoreless for the remainder of the night with a great defensive effort. Woodard grabbed seven rebounds, had 10 assists, and eight steals while senior Tyler Carter got the nod for his first start of the season. He scored four points in the winning cause. Causwell had another solid outing with 11 points going 5-7 from the floor and picking up five rebounds.
Morgan finished out the long week with a big win over the Hart County Bulldogs in the final home game, but it wasn’t all that easy. The scrappy orange-and-black visitors stayed close throughout the game. Hart jumped out to a 12-11 lead late in the first quarter before the Dogs reeled off nine straight points to end the period. Brown, Greene, and Woodard got buckets before Lawrence was fouled on a three-point shot as the buzzer sounded. The 6’4” lefty drained all three foul shots to take a 20-12 first quarter advantage.
Hart closed the gap to six before Lawrence and Woodard went back-to-back-to-back three-pointers with Woodard hitting two of those. After the smoke cleared it was 29-16 Dogs. They held a 36-27 lead at halftime.
Woodard was on fire in this one from outside the arc hitting six of seven attempts from downtown and 11-14 overall as part of his 31 points. Lawrence got a goodly portion of his 19 at the charity stripe going 9-12. The Dogs had a nice shooting night with 53% from the field, 47% from the three-point line, and 75% from the free throw line.
Morgan will finish up the regular season Region schedule with a game at Monroe Area before the Region Tournament that runs from February 5-9.