Lions end Morgan’s run

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 22, 2004

MONTGOMERY&045;For three quarters, the Morgan Lady Senators had the number one girls team in the AISA on their heels Friday afternoon at Huntingdon College.

In the semi-final round of the AISA State Tournament Morgan went blow for blow with the mighty and undefeated Kingwood Lady Lions. Then in the fourth quarter, mounting Morgan foul trouble and a super freshman point guard helped the Lions turn the tide and advance with a 58-49 win.

“I thought that’s the best half we’ve played all year,” Morgan coach Rick Blevins said of his team’s opening stanza. “Our intensity level was way up. I thought we did a really good job defensively.”

Morgan led at the end of the first and second quarters and the game was tied after the third.

Morgan scored the first points of the final quarter before Kingwood went on an impressive 10-0 run.

“I think what hurt us there at the end was they hit some key free throws down the stretch,” Blevins said. “Then we went a little flat on offense at the start of the fourth.”

In the end, Kingwood won because of freshman point guard Hannah Phillips.

She handled the pressure well, the ball well and hit seven 3-pointers on the way to a 33-point game.

“I thought they did a good job of maintaining their composure because it’s tough to be 26-0,” Blevins said. “The pressure’s on you every trip down the court.”

In the early going, Morgan turned the pressure up. With Elizabeth Elliott and Katie Taylor leading the way, Morgan knocked the top ranked team back on their heels.

Morgan led 16-12 after a quarter and increased that lead to six points as the second quarter began.

Phillips hit her third and fourth treys of the game and Meghan Gorecki scored six points to help Kingwood take the lead.

The Lady Senators showed they weren’t about to back down and battled back to take the lead.

Candice Ward countered one of Phillips’ threes with a long ball of her own and Elliott scored six points in the frame.

Morgan took the lead back and went to the break up three.

The third quarter belonged to Phillips.

She hit two more triples and scored 12 points in the quarter to keep Kingwood close.

Elliott attacked the glass in the third for Morgan, snaring eight rebounds in the second frame alone but foul trouble began to creep up on the Lady Senators.

With 5:57 left in the third, Elliott, Taylor and Ginger Gaines had all been saddled with their third foul.

A Gaines 3-pointer and two buckets from Taylor helped the teams go to the end of the third knotted at 42.

Laura Whitney Bennett opened the fourth with a jumper and Morgan had their final lead of the game.

Taylor picked up her fourth foul early in the final quarter and Morgan was not able to be as aggressive.

Kingwood went on a 10-0 run and put the game away.

In addition to Phillips’ 33, Gorecki scored 12 for the Lions.

The rest of the Lions team had 13 points combined.

For Morgan, Elliott had an outstanding day with 18 points.

Taylor added 15.

Gaines, the lone Morgan senior, had seven.

Ward added five and Bennett four.