By Tom White
Friday night was another battle of the mascots with the Lady Dogs of both Morgan County and Harlem meeting on the hardwood for a region game.
The MCHS Lady Dogs were 7-and-6 overall and 2-and-3 in the region entering the game. Morgan County dominated this game on both sides of the court from the start, taking the 48-20 win.
Harlem opened the game with a full-court press knowing that MCHS was missing a couple of their normal starters, Shay Brown and Precious Benford. MCHS countered with a press of their own and Harlem’s first three possessions were turnovers.The Lady Dogs of Madison converted and opened the game with a 7-0 lead. Harlem’s first time down the court after the opening possession was met with a Miracle Hunter block. Later, Harlem scored their first points in the night from the free throw line with 3:45 to go in the first. At the end of the first period, MCHS limited Harlem to one field goal and had a 13-4 lead.
Taylor Frederick caused a Harlem turnover and Peyten Spain converted a turnaround jumper at the other end to start the second. Jarai Colbert hit a layup after Frederick created another turnover on the next Harlem possession. Miracle Hunter converted a pair of free throws with 6:30 left in the half to extend the MCHS lead to 19-4. Harlem tried a man defense but the Lady Dogs moved the ball and worked off screens to create action close to the basket. MCHS controled the paint under the Harlem basket with Miracle Hunter and Peyten Spain both blocking shots in the second quarter. The Lady Dogs kept Harlem from scoring a field goal in the second quarter with all of the Harlem scoring coming from the free throw line. The half ended with MCHS leading 34-8.
Harlem opened the second half with a 2-3 zone defense and Morgan countered with a zone of their own. Sidda Outlaw continued to shine on the defensive side of the ball for the second game in a row. Taylor Frederick’s drive and layup with just over 3:30 left put MCHS up 30. Harlem’s Elizabeth Boudreau scored a layup with 2 minutes to go in the quarter. This was Harlem’s second field goal of the game and the first since about halfway through the first period. Destiny Hunter’s interception and drive put the Lady Dogs of Madison up 30. The lead for Morgan County was 31 at the end of three, 44-13.
By rule, the 31-point lead by Morgan County shortened the fourth quarter to 6:00. MCHS Head Coach Tim Roop only left one starter, Spain, in the game to start the fourth. Harlem’s answer to the 2-3 zone of MCHS was to spread the floor and use a couple of passes to create baskets early and a 5-0 run. A Destiny Smith save led to a Jarai Colbert jumper to stop the run. “Slow down!” was Roop’s demand for Peyten Spain as she tried to push the action up 26 with just over 2 minutes to go in the game. Roop continued to have the same issue with the other guards who are conditioned to push the action. Floor time for younger players was more valuable than the final score of 48-20.
The win brought the MCHS Lady Dogs to 8-and-6 overall and their region record to 3-and-3. Destiny Hunter led all scorers with 14. Parker Spain had 11 and Miracle Hunter had 6. For Harlem, Olivia Chen had 12, Regan Quattlebaum had 4, and Elizabeth Boudreau had 3.
Morgan County takes to the court again on Thursday night at Hephzibah.