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Senators clinch Pepsi Classic championship

The last time Morgan and Central Christian met the Warriors ran away with a 70-39 win.

The Senators reversed their fortunes by beating the Warriors 60-40 on Saturday to clinch the Morgan Pepsi Classic tournament.

“Morgan played harder,” said Central Christian coach Carl Rawls. “We had a bad shooting night. We didn’t win rebounds, defense or free throws.”

Morgan kept Central Christian uncomfortable and off-balance throughout the game by winning the rebound battle 31-12 limiting the Warriors’ bread and butter — transition baskets.

“We slowed the ball down,” said Morgan coach Lee Tate. “We knew we couldn’t go up and down the court with them because they’ll force mistakes.”

Morgan jumped to a 10-1 lead before Central Christian closed the gap to 11-9 on an Artavius Cunningham 3-pointer late in the first quarter. But Morgan responded with an 8-1 run sparked by a Sam Tate layup and Daniel Lee 3-point play.

A 10-2 run midway through the third quarter put the Morgan ahead 40-19, and put the game out of reach.

The Morgan defense kept the Warriors bottled up the rest of the way, feeding the offense with several points off turnovers.

“It’s the best defense we’ve played all year,” said Tate. “We were very aggressive. (This game) was really a confidence booster.”

Sam Tate led all scorers with 16 points. Lee added 14 points and Cole Brown added 12.

Bryant Rawls led the Warriors with with 11 points and Keevan Woods finished with 10.

Central Christian returns to region play against Restoration on Tuesday. Morgan visits Prattville Christian.