By Tom White
Friday night, the Morgan County High School Lady Bulldogs welcomed Cross Creek to Madison for a region match up. In a game marred by turnovers and defensive rebounds, the Lady Razorbacks left Madison with the 43-28 win and closed the week ranked #2 in GHSA AAA girls basketball.
The Lady Dogs were 7-and-4 overall and 2-and-0 in region play after a 64-16 statement game earlier in the week at the Academy Of Richmond County.
The CCHS Lady Razorbacks came into the game 4-and-2 overall having dropped two in a row. This game was the first region action for Cross Creek.
The Lady Dogs hit the court with a man defense to open the game opposed to the Cross Creek 2-3 zone. A Lady Razorback mid range jumper was matched by a Precious Benford three-pointer in the first two minutes of the game. Miracle Hunter’s defensive boards prevented any Cross Creek second attempts.
On the other end, Cross Creek retaliated with strong rebounds of their own. Most of their rebounds led to fast breaks that weren’t working until 3:53 left in the quarter when they started making the layups and CCHS’s Erin Martin caused Morgan County Head Coach Tim Roop to call a timeout with a deep three off the break. The lack of experience on the Lady Dogs squad showed as there were many miscues leading to turnovers. The Lady Razorbacks ended the quarter on a 10-point run to end the quarter with a 13-3 lead.
Cross Creek Head Coach Kim Schlein opened the second quarter with a 3-2 zone forcing the Lady Dogs to move the ball around the perimeter. Tahjae Howes hit a three 90 seconds into the quarter to start the scoring for Cross Creek.
MCHS Junior, Shay Brown opened the second quarter scoring with five minutes to go with a three from the wing and on the next possession, Taylor Frederick’s putback cut the lead to nine. Lady Dogs baskets on three of four trips down the court lead Coach Schlein to stop the action and regroup her team.
The Lady Dogs weren’t out of this one yet. Stingy defense and aggressive play on the offensive side wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard but the Lady Dogs greatly limited Cross Creek to close the half only trailing by eight at 21-13.
The Lady Dogs moved the ball well to start the second half and Miracle Hunter was the recipient of a great bounce pass into the paint where she was fouled and hit both free throws to open scoring for the half. Hunter continued to be a presence in the paint on both ends of the court, charging Razorback shots and snagging rebounds. The Lady Razorbacks continued to try to counter all MCHS miscues with fastbreaks but the shots weren’t landing with four consecutive fastbreaks that had layups roll off the rim. At the end of three, the Lady Razorback held on to a 31-19 lead.
Jordyn Dorsey from Cross Creek hit a mid-range jumper to open the fourth and Lady Dogs pushed the action on the other end and Miracle Hunter got fouled under the basket. She converted both free throws to counter the CCHS field goal. Hunter brought the lead to under 10 with a layup in the paint where she showed great footwork and basket awareness. A Shay Brown layup in transition pulled the Lady Dogs to within six with 5:10 to go in the contest.
Senior Razorback Erin Martin began to make her presence felt with 4:00 to go in the game with four straight drives – one for a layup and she was fouled the other three trips down the court. With under three minutes, the Lady Razorbacks extended their lead to 12 points using transition buckets to keep the Lady Dogs on their heels. A turnaround jumper by Jenna Wilborn for CCHS took the air out of the room for the Lady Dogs.
Cross Creek closed the game with the 43 to 28 win to open region plan. The Lady Dogs were led on the score sheet by Shay Brown with nine followed by Miracle Hunter and Precious Benford with six each. Cross Creek’s Jordyn Dorsey outscored everyone with 12 followed by Jenna Wilbon with 10 and Erin Martin’s nine points.
The Lady Dogs are home again on Friday and Saturday for more region contests. Both nights they start at 6 p.m.