PRICEVILLE — In terms of wins and losses, Dustin Morgan was determined not to let Danville High become a repeat offender.
“We already lost once to them, we weren’t going to lose again,” he said.
That resolve paid off, as West Morgan slowed the Hawks in the final quarter 81-78 to take home the Morgan County tournament title Saturday.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Rebels coach Mike Henson.
West Morgan (21-4) had a strong first half, as leading scorer Brandon Roberts opened with 15 points to put the team ahead at half 42-33. Roberts finished the game with 33.
Despite the opening lead, nothing was guaranteed for the Rebels.
Danville (16-10) improved after the half with an eight-point run to come within two points, followed by a 3-pointer from Kyle Alexander moments later to tie the game at 60. “I was scratching my face off,” said Morgan, who finished with 19 points. “I was nervous.”
Scrappy and unyielding, the Hawks tied the game two more times before the final buzzer. A layup from Alan Cordova kept Danville trailing by two with eight seconds on the clock, but West Morgan clinched the game at the free-throw line, when Morgan and Peyton Mullican scored two each to help the Rebels pull out a win.
Keandre Swopes contributed 11 for the Rebels.
“He’s really active around the rim. He’s like the Energizer bunny,” Henson said of Morgan. “He just keeps going, and he just keeps fighting.”
Patrick Doherty led Danville with 22 points.
The Hawks got 30 points from the bench, including 11 each from twins Alan and Andres Cordova.
“I knew they weren’t going to quit,” said Hawks coach Scott Ellis of his team’s constant effort.
As the crowd swirled around the county champions, Morgan, a junior, took in the experience of his first county win.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I want to go cut the net down, I’ve never done that before.”
“It’s always a good environment,” Henson said. “For us to win, it’s just a tribute to our guys and their hard work.”
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or email@example.com.
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