For the second time this season, the Morgan Trojans boys basketball team took on the Wolverines of Hunter High School and came away victorious. In an exciting finish, Morgan ended the contest on top with a score of 66-64, the second closest finish for the Trojans this season.
The game started somewhat sluggishly for Morgan as their first three points came off foul shots, the only three foul shots they would end up making all night. Meanwhile, Hunter quickly took command of the first quarter under the leadership of Noah Togiai, a 6’ 4” junior who dominated the offensive attack for the Wolverines. Morgan ended the challenging quarter with a five-point deficit at 14-19.
The second quarter started much the same way. Togiai put down three spectacular dunks in the first half to keep the Morgan crowd quiet. This entertaining display of talent was not your usual high school dunk. Rather it consisted of high-flying, authoritative slams.
Each dunk displayed a
different style from Togiai’s clearly impressive repertoire. At this point Morgan decided to put an end to these antics and rallied back to end the half with the lead at 34-30.
A primary difference between the two schools became evident in the level of team play at the start of the third quarter. Hunter depended on and rallied behind their solitary leader. By contrast, Morgan came with a relentless, balanced attack across the entire team. Morgan played an exceptional quarter with red hot shooting percentages to finish with a 53-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Hunter brought up their level of intensity in the final quarter of play, forcing Morgan to adjust to a faster tempo and more aggressive defense. This tactic allowed Hunter to stage a comeback and tie the game up with only three minutes remaining. The energy in the gym continued to increase as each remaining second ticked off the clock.
After several lead changes, Hunter called time out with 29 seconds left, down by two, to devise their final play. Executing near perfectly, Hunter allowed some time to expire before Togiai drove to the basket, making a layup to tie the game once again with only 8 seconds left.
The only problem for Hunter was they left too much time on the clock for the determined Trojans, who easily broke the full court press. This tactic left Bridger Streadbeck wide open under the basket for an easy layup. Time expired as Hunter attempted a desperation shot from the far end of the court without success, making the final score 66-64.
For Hunter, Togiai ended the night with a game-high 26 points.
Scoring in double digits for Morgan were Hunter Stanford with 12 points
including two three-pointers, Ben Saunders with 11 points also with two three-pointers, and Hayden Murdock with 10 points. Saunders led the rebounding effort for the Trojans with a total of five boards. Jordan Nelson and Matt Murdock each contributed six assists to the winning effort. Murdock was also active on defense with six steals.
The Trojans now stand at 8-6 overall with enormous momentum heading into the beginning of region play tonight against Uintah. Morgan has now won eight out of their last nine games. The next home game for the Trojans is against Park City on Friday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.