Morgan girls lose

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 20, 2005

Morgan Academy coach Robert Gartman knew his Lady Senators had their hands full against Faith Academy.

After all, the top-ranked Lady Rams came in with just two losses this season, both to the top two teams in Louisiana.

Gartman’s concerns came to light Friday as the Lady Senators were pounded by Faith Academy, 61-21, in the AISA Class 3A semifinals at Huntingdon College.

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Despite the loss, Gartman took pride in the fact the the Lady Senators had made it this far without recruiting any of their players from other schools.

“There was nothing we could do against them,” Gartman said. “They were very athletic. They had a good team to start with and they made it even better when (Tiffany Sanders and Gerica Johnson) came in.”

The two played key roles on both offense and defense as the Lady Rams advanced to the Class 3A state final played Saturday.

Johnson’s steal of a Morgan Academy pass and running lay-up, and Sanders’ pull-up jumper from the top of the key ignited a 14-3 run that put Faith Academy ahead 16-5 after the first period.

Things got even worse for the Lady Senators late in the opening period when senior center Elizabeth Elliott went crashing into the gymnasium’s brick wall while trying to save a ball from bouncing out of bounds.

Elliott ran to the end line, on the opposite end of the Morgan bench, where she left her feet while trying to flip the ball back to her teammates. After tossing the ball backwards, Elliott hit the wall hard and fell to the ground. She remained there for nearly five minutes before being helped to her feet by Gartman. Elliott returned in the second period. After the game, she sported a black right eye.

The Faith Academy defense dished out its share of black eyes as well. The Lady Rams’ defense pressured Morgan Academy into 26 first-half turnovers. The final possession change of the first half came when Sanders stole the Lady Senators’ inbound pass after a Faith basket. Sanders then fed a bounce pass to Shelter on the left baseline for an easy lay-up and a 37-8 lead.

Katie Taylor sank a driving lay-up and Elliott connected on a turn-around jumper from the top of the key, but the Lady Senators still trailed at halftime, 37-12.

Shelter and Sanders continued their assault on the Morgan defense in the third quarter. The two combined for the Lady Rams’ first nine points of the second half as Faith Academy’s lead stretched to 46-17.

Taylor’s steal and lay-up made it 47-17 with 4:36 to go, but it also was Morgan Academy’s final basket of the game.

Guard Wibbi Lloyd showed off her hot shooting hand in the fourth period. Lloyd hit a three-pointer from the right wing, then added a baseline jumper from the left corner to put Faith Academy ahead 58-19.

Morgan’s final two points came on free throws by Elliott.