By Tom White
A rusty Morgan County Boys Basketball team got back in action last week with two tough road region match-ups that didn’t go the way of the Dogs, dropping the game Thursday at Hephzibah and Saturday at Thompson.
Last Thursday, the Bulldogs traveled to Hephzibah for a region game and their first time on the court since Jan. 16. In a game that showed the two weeks off for the Dogs, the Rebels of Hepzibah knocked off the Dogs 52-41.
The Dogs hit the court and struggled to get on the board only scoring four in the first quarter. The break between periods woke up the offense for Morgan County and they started the quarter with a 12-0 run. The middle of the second quarter was a shootout with both teams hitting from behind the arc. The Rebels held on to a one-point lead heading into halftime, 22-21.
The second half was back and forth throughout, but Hephzibah extended their lead to five at the end of the quarter. In the fourth, the Dogs battled with foul trouble as the speedy Hephzibah team caused the Dogs defense to use their hands more than their feet to try to stop the ball. The fourth quarter became a fight for both teams as the officials made their impact on the flow of the game. MCHS Junior, Desmond White fouled out with one minute to go in the game. Hephzibah used the Dogs’ foul situation to extend their lead and take the 52-43 win.
Saturday, the Dogs were on the road again. This time they were at Thomson. In a closely contested, physical game, the Bulldogs fell by one, 56-55. The Dogs were led in scoring by Marquavious Wright and Malachi Hardy with 13 points each.
The first period was the definition of back and forth. Both teams seemed to be feeling the other out and the period ended with Morgan County being up 15-14 at the end of the first period. The second quarter was much of the same with every shot being contested by each team. The contested shots paired with strong defensive rebounds on both ends kept the game tight headed to halftime when Antavious Elder hit a layup in the last seconds to put the Morgan County Dogs up two, 33-31.
Thomson opened the second half with an 11-0 run on the Dogs which was only stopped with Malachi Hardy’s three free throws after getting fouled outside the three point line in the corner. Free throws and offensive put backs helped the Dogs outlast that opening run to close the Thomson lead to four at the end of the third, 44-48. The Bulldogs offense started to click in the fourth with ball movement leading to several easy baskets for the Dogs despite Thomson crashing the boards on every shot. Two points separated the teams for most of the fourth quarter. With under one minute to go, Ty Nelson hit a three to make it a one point game. Thomson forward, Ja’Quarion Brooks hit a pair of free throws to put Thompson up three with less than 10 seconds left. MCHS used a time out to set up a play with :04 on the clock. On the inbound the ball, TJ Thompson got the ball and drove for a layup without getting a foul call and the Dogs fell by one, 55-56. On the scoreboard, the Dogs were led by TJ Thompson with 16 and Malachi Hardy with 11.
Morgan County takes the court again Friday at Cross Creek for a 7:30 p.m. start.