It was a mixed bag for the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams last week. The two varsity programs played a rare home double-header on Friday, and while the boys were very impressive in a win over Tooele, the girls lost their sixth straight game.
The Lady Trojans began December by winning four of five games. Unfortunately, they haven’t won since. The Trojans’ last victory came against North Summit on Dec. 12, a 52-45 overtime win in Coalville. It’s been tough sledding since then: four straight losses at the Nike Tournament of Champions just before Christmas, followed by back-to-back losses last week.
First, the Lady Trojans went to Green Canyon High School on Dec. 28, and suffered a 49-33 loss. The next day they returned home for the first time in almost a month, but it didn’t get much better, as they fell to Union, 59-41.
Morgan, now just 4-8 on the season, is playing good enough defense to win games, but the Trojans’ offense is failing them. Against Union, the Trojans shot just 27 percent from the field (13-for-47), including just 2-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc. Against Green Canyon, the Trojans struggled even more, hitting just 10 of their 54 field goal attempts (18 percent), including only 2-of-14 from downtown.
The Lady Trojans will have two more opportunities this week to right the ship before region play begins. Unfortunately, the schedule remains unkind. Both games this week are against 4A teams. First up is a road game at Logan on Thursday. That will be followed by a rare Saturday home game against rival Bear River. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.
While the girls’ team is struggling, the MHS boys’ team continues to sizzle. On Friday, the boys knocked off Tooele, 69-55 to improve to 9-2 on the year.
Morgan jumped out to a 16-5 first quarter lead against the Buffaloes and cruised from there, avenging last season’s 56-54 loss, which the Buffaloes won in the final seconds of the game.
MHS coach Brad Matthews was very pleased with how the team responded in the first game right after Christmas.
“I think we played pretty good defense,” he said. “And then offensively, we were getting the ball to shooters and they were making them. It makes a big difference when you come out and make shots, especially in the first game during the (Christmas) break, where sometimes it’s hard to find the basket.”
Kaleb Calderwood had a terrific game for the Trojans, scoring 16 points, including 14 in the second half to prevent the Buffaloes from mounting any kind of serious comeback. Cade Russell added 13 points, while Laine Carter had 11 and Trey Miles had 10. Stetson Anderson had eight points off the bench.
Something a little different in the game against Tooele was that the Trojans took noticeably fewer 3-pointers than usual. They still made seven – Anderson and Carter had two apiece – but none seemed forced. That’s exactly the kind of offense Matthews is looking for.
“Take the best shot,” Matthews said. “That’s what we preach. If a three is the best shot, then take it. But we tonight were getting to the rim.”
Up next for the Trojans is a road game against 5A’s Skyline on Thursday. They’ll then return home on Friday for a game against the defending 2A state champions, Layton Christian Academy. LCA is just 5-6 on the season, but don’t let that fool you. They have played an extremely challenging schedule, including games against Bingham, Timpview, and Lehi.
“I can’t believe they’re a 2A team,” Matthews said. “I’ve watched them on film. That’s no 2A school. This will be a tough week. A 5A school and then the best 2A school in the state. We’re excited. It will show us where we’re at.”
It is notable that Layton Christian won the 2A title last year even though the Eagles lost six straight games in December. In fact, they were 4-8 at this point a year ago before turning their season around. Sounds like the kind of story the Lady Trojans could take some inspiration from.