By R. Alan Richardson, Sports Editor
It was a great night for Morgan’s hardcourt boys as they garnered their first victory and Region win of the 2019-20 season. The win over East Jackson was a nail biter this past Tuesday on the road with the Dogs winning 63-61. Improvement continues to be the name of the game for this Jamond Sims led squad. They may have backslid a little at Jefferson against a veteran group ranked 23rd in AAA. In 8-AAA Hart continues to lead the pack at number two in the state while Franklin County comes in at number six. The Dogs lost to the Dragons 68-46 before regrouping and playing well at Newton Saturday in a losing cause 53-44. The win over East Jackson pushes the Dogs to 1-3 in Region play and 1-7 overall.
Morgan showed some gumption at 7-A opponent Newton Saturday night coming from behind in a close game. The hype that surrounded these two teams a year ago certainly wasn’t the same, but it was step in the right direction for the Bulldogs. In the first meeting between the two teams in November it was Newton chalking up a decisive 74-47 win, but this one would prove to be much closer and more competitive for Morgan.
A Desmond White three-pointer with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter tied things up at 7-7 before the Rams scored the next six to lead 13-7 after eight minutes of play. Several turnovers proved to be costly for MOCO in the first quarter. Newton pulled ahead at 18-7 after another Bulldog turnover with 7:25 to play in the second period before Sims called a timeout. The Dogs made a surge but still trailed at the halftime break 29-17.
Morgan came out fighting after the intermission whittling the 12-point lead down to six at the end of the third quarter. Malachi Hardy was instrumental in the comeback with some strong inside post play, seven points, and some aggressive rebounding. Trailing 34-28 going into the final stanza, the Dogs cut the lead down to two at 34-32 after a steal and layup by Ty Butler and another bucket by White, but that was as close as they would get. Morgan had a number of opportunities to tie the game when Newton’s outside shooting went completely cold, but they couldn’t capitalize. Another triplet of turnovers in the waning moments of the contest sealed their fate when the Rams went from leading by four at 40-36 and only three minutes and change to go, to going up by ten and that was the game.
The Dogs have one remaining home game on the schedule with Jackson County on Dec. 17 before heading off to their traditional Christmas tournament action. This year they will compete in Tallahassee, FL on Dec. 28 before heading to Austell to play South Cobb in the Big South Shootout. They will end the break on New Year’s Eve with a game in College Park with North Clayton.
They will return home in 2020 with a game vs. Monroe Area on Jan. 3 at 8:30.