Morgan holds off Autauga Academy for 52-41 home victory

Published 11:24 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

Morgan Academy’s Ford Manderson, left, goes for a layup against Autauga Academy’s Nick Tillery during Thursday’s game. Morgan defeated Autauga 52-41. -- Robert Hudson

In a close game on their home floor, the Morgan Academy Senators only trailed once, as they pushed on for a 52-41 win over the Autauga Academy Generals on Thursday.

Bob Taylor, head boys basketball coach of Morgan Academy (3-0), said the Senators hit their shots in the second half to grind out a tough win.

“We did a better job in the second half of hitting some shots. First half, we didn’t hit a lot of shots, but in the second half I thought we hit the shots that we needed to hit,” Taylor said. “We played pretty well defensively, I thought. No. 1 for them (Nick Tillery) is a heck of a ball player. He gave us fits all night. It was just a good, hard-fought win for us.”

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With the score at 25-24, Autauga was threatening to take the lead late in the third, but Morgan’s Dalton Lee scored in the paint and made it 27-24 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.

Morgan added a little more cushion to its lead, as Ford Manderson finished off a fast break with a layup to make it a 29-24 game with 1:40 left.

Autauga finally answered back when Patrell Smith hit a 3-pointer to put the score at 29-27 with 1:02 left in the quarter, and teammate Carson Sigmon tied it up with a mid-range shot with 33 seconds left.

But Morgan closed the quarter strong, with Lee hitting a 3-pointer that made it 32-29 in favor of the Senators going into the fourth quarter.

Lee opened the fourth quarter like he ended the third, hitting a three that made it a 35-29 game, as teammate Zach Singh hit a mid-range jumper and Manderson added a 3-pointer that helped put Morgan up 40-31.

Tilley hit a shot in the paint after an offensive board that made it 40-33 with little over five minutes left to play, but Morgan’s Connor Henderson hit a jump shot and a 3-pointer to put the game further out of reach at 45-33 with 2:18 remaining.

Manderson, Lee and Trey Powe hit free throws down the stretch for Morgan to secure the win.

Henderson led the Senators with 18 points, while Manderson had 15 points and Lee had 11 points.

Tillery led the Generals with 12 points, most of which came from second-chance shots in the paint, while Smith had 11 points and Sigmon had 8 points.

Morgan will play again Monday at home against Sumter Academy with games starting at 4 p.m.