It’s Morgan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2005

Times-Journal Correspondent

Morgan Academy resoundingly trounced Hooper Academy, 71-44, Saturday to claim the AISA Class 3A, Area 4 championship at Morgan Academy.

The Senators showed no signs of missing starter Blake South, who missed the game after injuring his right ankle in Friday night’s game against Monroe Academy.

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Morgan jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the opening minutes of the first period. By the end of the quarter, the Senators had extended their lead to 19-9.

Reid Tolar dominated the boards, bringing down 14 rebounds, while Reid Buster scored 19 points to go with 11 points by point guard Eric Pilcher.

When Hooper took the shooting lanes from Buster and Pilcher, Tolar stepped up with 12 points in the second quarter and 17 for the night. Aided by Ben Callaway’s free throws, the Senators took a commanding 42-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Despite Hooper opening the second half in a man-to-man defense, Morgan drove on the Colts at will, extending their lead by almost 30 points. A rally late in the third by Hooper cut Morgan’s lead to 54-33.

By filling the key under the basket, the Colts took away Morgan’s inside game. A foul shot by the Colts’ Lane Dodson brought Hooper to within 20 points to end the third period.

Morgan substituted for its starters with three minutes left in the game. The second string, despite being manhandled, valiantly held their own.

Literally picking himself up off the ground, Umang Patel scored the first points for the younger team, sinking the last of his two free throws, as well as adding another two points on the next play

Pilcher and Tolar were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Buster was named Most Valuable Player.

“I’m very proud of the way my boys played in the last two games,” Morgan coach David Walker said. “They put it all on the line. They didn’t think about tomorrow. They just put 100 percent in everything they did.”

The Senators will need to do the same to reach the state’s Final Four in two weeks’ time. Morgan moves to the first round of the AISA Class 3A State Tournament next Saturday at Faulkner University.