Morgan Academy’s Connor Henderson attempts to dribble past a defender in the Senators loss to Evangel Christian Saturday night during the final game of the 2013 Morgan Pepsi Classic. Henderson scored 11 points for the Senators in the game.--Daniel Evans
Morgan Academy’s Connor Henderson attempts to dribble past a defender in the Senators loss to Evangel Christian Saturday night during the final game of the 2013 Morgan Pepsi Classic. Henderson scored 11 points for the Senators in the game.-- Daniel Evans

Morgan falls to Evangel in close contest

Published 9:13pm Saturday, December 28, 2013

For over three quarters, Morgan Academy (5-7) matched Evangel Christian Academy basket for basket, but in the final few minutes of Saturday’s game the Lions dialed up the pressure and pulled away for a 63-52 win.

Morgan Academy was unable to handle Evangel’s fullcourt pressure, which sped up the Senators’ tempo and forced untimely turnovers from Morgan down the stretch.

“We didn’t get into our press break like we should have,” Morgan head coach Bob Taylor said. “[We] just had a couple of mental mistakes.”

In all, the Senators turned the basketball over 26 times in the game, compared to only 16 turnovers form the Lions.

Like in Friday night’s loss to East Memorial Christian Academy, Morgan led most of the first half. Before halftime, Evangel took the lead and then threatened to run away after taking a 45-35 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Senators refused to go away, closing the gap to 53-50 with 6:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Lions turned up the heat defensively and forced turnovers leading to easy baskets in the final part of the fourth quarter.

“In watching Morgan last night, I got to see where they were probably a little vulnerable,” Evangel head coach Kerwin Washington said. “I thought the halfcourt trap in the first half and fullcourt in the second half would probably wear them down.”

The Senators also lost the battle on the boards for the second conseutive night, which allowed Evangel several second chance opportunities.

Despite the defeats, Taylor was still happy with how his team competed in both games it played in the Morgan Pepsi Classic.

“I felt like we played two of the best teams that were here,” Taylor said. “That was kind of the mantra for what we wanted to do, so I think it worked out well.”

Ford Manderson led the Senators with 18 points, including two made three-point attempts. The Senators were 8 of 24 from three-point range and shot 50 percent from the field.

Morgan’s next game is Friday, Jan. 3 against Wilcox Academy.

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