Morgan High School’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams both played in mini-tournaments this past week, and both found a great deal of success, including wins against some very strong opponents.
The boys’ team traveled to Richfield on Dec. 1 and 2 for the annual Central Utah Basketball Preview, which features 2A and 3A teams from across the state. The Trojans have played in the two-day tournament every season since 2009, but have struggled over the last few years. Since 2012, the Trojans have gone just 2-8 at the tournament, with the last win coming in 2014.
But this year, the Trojans won both of their games, including a thrilling 62-60 win over Emery on Friday. The Spartans have been a 2A powerhouse for the last several years, including a fifth-place finish at state last season. But the Trojans eked out the win behind 24 points from senior guard Cade Russell. Tyson Hurd added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Carson Ordyna came off the bench for eight points. Laine Carter chipped in with seven points and eight boards.
The following day, Morgan made quick work of North Sevier. The Trojans jumped out to a 37-14 halftime lead and cruised to a 67-31 victory to improve to 3-1 on the year. Russell led the Trojans once again, this time with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. He also had four assists, three rebounds and two steals. In four games this season, Russell is averaging 23.3 points per game, and has scored at least 20 in every game.
No one else from MHS scored in double figures against the Wolves, but 10 different players put the ball in the basket. Hunter Thomas had nine points off the bench, while Hurd added eight points and six rebounds. Trey Miles also had eight points and six boards, but added a game-high six assists.
The Trojans’ game against Juab on Wednesday came after the newspaper deadline, but fans will be able to catch them in action tonight against longtime rival Ben Lomond. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Morgan High School.
The Lady Trojans had nearly as good a week as the boys did, capturing wins against Sky View and Davis, but losing to Fremont.
It began last Friday in the Morgan Winter Classic – a two-day tournament featuring some of the top girls’ basketball teams in the state. This is the fifth straight year that Morgan has hosted the tournament, and in that time, the Trojans have gone 8-2, with their only losses coming against 6A power Fremont.
The game of the week was undoubtedly the Trojans’ 60-57 win over Sky View. After a slow start, the Trojans worked their way back, eventually taking the lead in the third quarter. From there the game stayed tight, with each team trading the lead down the stretch.
With 28 seconds to play and the score knotted at 57-57, the Trojans got the ball back. They passed the ball around while letting the clock run down. Then with only a few seconds left, the ball ended up in senior guard Jaci Jensen’s hands. From about two feet beyond the 3-point line, she launched a shot that went right in the basket with just one second left on the clock.
The shot proved to be the game-winner, giving the Trojans their first victory of the season.
“That was a great game,” girls’ coach Kade Morrell said. “I thought the girls grew a lot and did some really good things. That was probably one of the most patient games they’ve played in a long time. They just stuck with it. I was really proud of them. They just kept fighting. We came down the line and hit some clutch free throws, and then executed very well down the stretch.”
Morgan Cragun led the Trojans with 19 points and four steals, while Kayden Jorgensen finished with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Jensen and Jacie House had eight points apiece.
The next day against Fremont, there would be no such heroics. The Silver Wolves fielded a team that consisted of 6-foot-3 freshman center Emma Calvert and 5-10 sophomore forward Haylee Doxey. With MHS’s Marcie Stapley still sidelined with a foot injury, no one on Morgan’s team could compete against that kind of size. In fact, for much of the game, senior Lisa Blazzard, who might be 5-foot-4, had the task of guarding Calvert.
Once again, the Trojans fell behind early, including 10-2 and then 14-5. But there would be no coming back against the strong Silver Wolves, who cruised to a 48-32 win. Calvert had 18 points for Fremont, while Doxey added 14. Blazzard led Morgan with 13 points.
“For some reason right now, we seem to dig ourselves a hole in the first quarter and then we have to try to fight back,” Morrell said. “We’ve been talking about that, so we’re going to try to do some things to fix that.
“That Fremont squad is a great team,” Morrell added. “But I was proud of our entire team effort. With our young girls, JV and varsity, we went 5-1 for the tournament. That’s a great weekend.”
Finally, on Tuesday, the Lady Trojans knocked off Davis 44-33. For the first three quarters, the game was very close, with the Darts even leading by two heading into the fourth period. But the Trojans outscored Davis 16-3 in the fourth to capture the 11-point road win.
Morgan, now 2-2 on the year, was led by Jensen, who scored 16 points. Jensen didn’t have her best shooting night, going just 3-for-13 from the field, but she was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Jensen also had seven rebounds. Cragun topped the Trojans with nine rebounds and two assists.
The Lady Trojans play their next seven games on the road, including tonight at Ogden High School. They’ll also be traveling to Phoenix in two weeks for the Nike Tournament of Champions. Their next home game is scheduled for Dec. 29 against Union. That will be an interesting night, as both the boys and girls will have home games.