By R. Alan Richardson
In a quirky set of circumstances and GHSA rules, the Morgan County girls’ basketball team will be inserted into the State Tournament even though they finished fifth in the Region Tournament.
Let’s try to make this as clear as mud.
The Lady Dogs lost in the quarterfinals to Monroe Area 43-41 in a big upset. That loss essentially put Morgan out of the State Playoff picture and ended their season because only four teams from each region participate in the State Tournament. However, according to the GHSA rules concerning playoffs, if a region doesn’t have enough teams to fill their four region spots, then the State uses several different sets of data (not sure what those are) and what is called Power Rankings to determine and put in an at-large team in that region’s fourth spot. The Lady Dogs were fortunate enough to have received one of those at-large bids.
On the boys’ side, Franklin County also received an at-large bid from 8-AAA. Those recognitions speak highly of the talent in Region 8-AAA.
With an overall record of 18-7 and a Region record of 9-3, the committee saw fit to insert Morgan into the Region 1 four seed spot. That means they will have to play the number one seed from Region 4, the Kendrick High School Lady Cherokees who upset Peach County in the Championship game.
This may bode well for MOCO. Kendrick comes in with a mediocre 14-11 record and only 7-5 in Region play.
Morgan County head Coach Josh Reeves said, “The Monroe game was one where we all got caught looking ahead. We did not execute and it seemed like we were just waiting for someone to take charge and step up. Miranda did her best with 19 of our 41 points but it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately it was our worst game at the worst moment. We obviously have gotten a reprieve and a second chance with this at-large bid and I hope we can make the most of it. We are going to focus on whatever game is in front of us and be ready for anything on the road. It is not ideal but it is what we get for playing like we did. We must just stay focused on our goal and play our best for every minute we hit the floor.” Well said Coach.
On a high note for the Lady Dogs, there were three players named to the All-Region team after the Region Finals were completed. Senior guards Lou Reid and Miranda Powell along with junior forward Tamia Benford were honored in that group. Reid has missed the final few games with a shoulder injury and is unlikely to return for the playoffs.
Powell and Benford will be called on to take on an additional scoring and leadership role as they head to Columbus this Friday.
The girls have new life. One person said, “They came back from the dead.” Who knows? Lazarus did it. Maybe the Lady Bulldogs can make the most of it this time.
Game times for this weekend include:
Girls: @ Kendrick High School; Friday, February 15 – 6:00pm
Boys: Home vs. Redan; Saturday, February 16 – 6:00 pm
Tickets for all first round games are $7 as set by the GHSA.