By Tom White
The Morgan County Bulldogs basketball team faced a tough Cross Creek Razorbacks team Friday night at home. Cross Creek entered the game as the No. 8 ranked team in AAA with a 7-and-3 record. The Dogs were 4-4 overall and 0-1 in region.
The Dogs’ game at the Academy of Richmond County scheduled for Jan. 12, was postponed, meaning that for the second week in a row, the Dogs hit the court after a week of just practice and no competitions. The Dogs’ lack of experience showed in the 70 to 37 loss to Cross Creek.
The Dogs came out shooting with Marquavious Wright hitting a three in the corner to open scoring one minute into the game. A putback by Corey Trotter from Cross Creek opened their scoring a minute later. Trotter played a huge role on the defensive side forcing three turnovers in the paint. Cross Creek’s Richard Viscitation began to heat up from behind the arc helping extend the Razorback lead to 14-7 at the end of the quarter.
Junior Bulldog, Malachi Hardy fought through a double team and flop to score a turn around finger roll to open the second. Two minutes later, he did the same thing, but this time got fouled and converted to make it a two-point game with 6:30 to go in the first half.
A huge block by Trotter and a basket on the other end slowed the Dogs’ momentum with five minutes to go in the half. Desmond White’s three cuts the Cross Creek led to four points with under four minutes to go in the second period. Bulldogs head coach Jamond Sims had to get creative late in the second when his two big men both picked up their second foul. The half closed with Cross Creek leading the Dogs by nine; 25-16.
Cross Creek’s Devon Pope got the third started, taking on three Bulldogs on the way to the basket. He put in the layup and finished the three-point play at the free throw line. The Dogs moved the ball to break through the Razorback defense and finally converted with a short jumper from Anaury Warren. Neither team could put in shots under the basket and rebounds were a dog fight until Pope sunk another from beyond the arc. An intercepted MCHS outlet pass led to a three by Ricardo Dagget for the Razorbacks and a timeout from Coach Sims as CCHS extended the lead to 18.
After couple of sloppy possessions, Sims needed another time out to regroup. The Cross Creek shots started to fall and the defense continued to hold, leaving the Dogs with a 49 – 21 hole to work out of in the fourth quarter.
Up by 28, The Razorbacks were content to sit back in a 2-3 zone and let the Bulldogs move the ball around the arc. Meanwhile on the offensive side, they slashed to the hole or took quick threes.
Offensively for the Dogs, they were trying to shoot themselves back into the game but early on in the fourth, the shots weren’t falling. Ty Nelson got a baseline three to fall for Morgan County with five minutes to go in the game, momentarily trimming the Razorback lead. With 3:00 to go, Cross Creek Head Coach Lawrence Kelly emptied the bench to relieve his starters with a 60 to 35 lead. Sims did the same with just under 90 seconds remaining, giving his young team some experience at the varsity level.
Cross Creek closed out the game with a missed dunk but took the 70 to 37 win.
The Dogs were led by Ty Nelson with eight points followed by Desmond White with seven and six from Malachi Hardy. For Cross Creek, Richard Viscitation led all scorers with 18 and Corey Trotter added 13.
The Dogs host Harlem Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The Saturday match up against Thomson has been postponed as McDuffie County schools still wrangle the COVID situation.