The Morgan boys basketball squad ended the regular season with some mighty impressive numbers: 12-0 record in Region 11 play, 18-3 overall record, undefeated on their home court for the season, and undefeated in 2012, with their 3 defeats all coming early in the preseason in November and December.
Even with those brilliant numbers, their season would come to a crashing thud with a loss on their home court to the forth place team out of region 12, the Spanish Fork Dons. In order to make it to the quarterfinal round at Dixie State college, the Trojans would need a victory against a team playing with nothing to lose.
With the pressure firmly on the backs of the Trojans, the team came out playing like the region champions they are.
Senior Jaran Bennett gave the Trojans a quick 2-0 lead with a driving layup early in the quarter. Senior big man 6 foot 4 Boston Saunders, who was huge all game with his play in the low post, also found time to step out to the 3 point line and nail a bucket from the top of the key. Morgan’s other starting post player, 6 foot 6 senior Garrett Kuns, made life difficult for the Dons under the hoop by swatting a layup attempt away at the 2:35 mark of the quarter and the Trojans enjoying a lead of 13-7. Tenacious defense, with the Trojans enjoying multiple steals and deflections, pushed the Trojans lead to 17-13 at the end of the quarter. Saunders led the way with 9 points in the quarter.
Junior Jake Miles, with a jumper as smooth as a baby’s bottom, would stroke 3 three point buckets in the second quarter en route to 13 points in the quarter. Mile’s last 3 pointer of the quarter from the right baseline gave Morgan an 11 point lead, and when he corralled a long defensive rebound and fed a streaking Bennett for a layup with 4 seconds left in the half, Morgan bolted out to a 13 point lead and a 40-27 lead.
With all the momentum in the Trojans favor, the crowd was ready to see a blowout in the Trojans favor after halftime. After all, the Dons were a fourth place team and would surely fold like an old accordion, right?
Well, not exactly. The Trojans would outscore the Dons 18-15 in the quarter, but in a preview of things to come, Dons swingman number 25 Clay Banks would score 13 of the visitors 15 points, mostly on long 3 pointers, to keep things interesting. Sophomore guard Matt Murdock threw in a pretty floating “J” in the paint to stake the Trojans to a 58-42 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
Saunders gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the game after 2 free throws, and a conventional 3 point play after a monster offensive rebound and put-back, and hitting the ensuing free throw. The lead stood at 63-42 when things started to go south for the home team. Some uncharacteristic sloppy play by the Trojans allowed the Dons to climb back into the game with some easy layups and short jumpers. Banks would go off for four three point baskets in a 5 minute span, and suddenly it was a 6 point game at 71-65 with 3 minutes remaining.
But the Trojans would keep their composure, hitting just enough free throws in the last 3 minutes, and also being patient with their passing game to burn out the clock and log a hard earned victory at 83-72.
Banks had a huge game for the visitors, with 30 second half points and a game high 34 overall.
Lost in Banks amazing performance was the fact that the Trojans two big guns had monster games themselves. Miles would lead the Trojans with 31 points, 10/17 from the field including 5/11 on 3 pointers. Miles was a perfect 6/6 on free throws, and had 4 rebounds and 3 assist. Saunders scored 27 points on 8/18 shooting, 11 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Trojans had contributions from the whole team, including senior Swish Wiscombe with 5 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds, senior Colby Skinner with 9 big points off the bench and 4 rebounds, and Jaran Bennett scored 6 points on 3/4 shooting with 2 assists, 2 boards, and 2 steals.
The Trojans will continue their run for a state 3A title at Dixie State college on Thursday February 23rd with a game vs Hurricane at 2:30 p.m.