Round two, Morgan Trojans vs. Richfield Wildcats. Bright and early Thursday morning, February 24, 2011, and the Trojan Boys find themselves playing a big game in a big stadium.
A strong turn out of Morgan fans sat ready as the jump ball was tossed. Tip goes to the wildcats. A quick pass underneath to Richfield’s big man and the Wildcats are on the board. Morgan works for an open shot against a feisty defense.
A tipped pass gives the Trojans an inbound play under the hoop; it’s an ali oop pass to number 4 Casey Evans to tie the game. At first glance it appeared this might be an offensive game. The exact opposite proved to be true.
The young men of Morgan and Richfield buckled down their defensive shoes, neither side allowing a shot to go uncontested. It was several trips up and down the court before the Trojans finally found Evans again for another basket.
With hands in the Wildcats faces Morgan forced Richfield to miss on their next five attempts. The Trojans pulled down defensive rebounds and were able to convert on the other end to gain an 8-2 lead.
It was more then half way through the first quarter before Richfield got their second bucket. Dallin Schenk answered this by knocking down a three, bringing the score to 11-4 Trojans. The Wildcats were able to hit a three of their own before Casey Evans rounded out the quarter by draining a long two pointer. At the end of one, it was Morgan 13 Richfield 7.
The second quarter proved to be even less productive for the Wildcats then the first. Morgan put on a full court press and held Richfield to just 5 points in the second.
Tough Trojan “D” also created some fast break opportunity’s for our guys. Five different Morgan players combined to score 20 points in the second quarter. Some great hustle, sweet passes and domination of the boards gave Morgan a healthy 21 point lead at the half. It was Morgan 33 Richfield 12.
The Wildcats, shooting only 20% from the field thus far, decided it was time to really step up the defense. Double teaming any time they got the chance and getting up in the Trojans faces, Richfield turned the tables and held Morgan to only 5 points in the third quarter.
It should be noted that this reporter heard, from the stands, several slaps on the arms of Trojans that received no attention from the officials during this quarter.
Coach Wiscombe called a timeout to let the guys know he was unsatisfied with their ball handling! I asked Wiscombe after the game “what did you say in the third quarter to get our boys to turn it around?” He said “I told them to quit throwing the ball away.” Sometimes simple advice really is best. The Trojans maintained their harassment of the Wildcat shooters which somewhat balanced out a turnover ridden third quarter. Richfield was only able to score 13 points in the third which left the Trojans a 12 point lead to start the fourth, 37-25.
The Morgan boys looked much more collected in the fourth quarter. Number 2, Swish Wiscombe, found Saunders on a back door pass to get things rolling for the Trojans.
A Brooks inbound pass found Evans for another 2 points. Then it was Brooks again, on a steal, driving the length of the court to add another bucket for the Trojans. Saunders and Sargent found themselves at the line adding to the lead, as the Trojan Student Body pointed or took aim at the hoop to send some positive energy.
Morgan had regained control of the game. With 1 min. to play and a 51-35 lead the Trojan secondary squad took the floor. They ended the game with an exclamation point for Morgan. With only seconds to play #23 Garrett Kuns elevated for a huge blocked shot. This sent the Trojans running, it was two on one, Swish Wiscombe and Josh Duncan passed the ball back and fourth over and behind the defender. Then Duncan ended the game nicely with a leaning, strongly contested left handed layup.
I asked coach Wiscombe about the officiating after the game, he told me “we don’t worry about the officials, we just take care of our selves.” He also added “it’s state, they let the boys play. And a physical game is to our advantage.”
Wiscombe was proud of the way his team handled themselves, other then to many turnovers in the third quarter. Some of the key stats of the game were, Morgan out rebounded Richfield 50 to 20. Jared Brooks lead the Trojans with 13 points, Casey Evans had 10 and Dalin Schenk added 9 points. The Trojans had 14 team assists but turned the ball over 17 times.
A win against Richfield sent Morgan to the semi finals where they faced Desert Hills.