If anyone needed a win, it was the MHS girls’ basketball team.
Losers of seven in a row, the Trojans were desperate for a victory against anybody. The last thing they wanted was to start Region 13 competition on a long losing streak. But on Saturday, the Bear River Bears came to town and the Trojans put their bad memories behind them with a stellar come-from-behind 59-49 win. It was Morgan’s first win in almost a month.
“This is a much better feeling,” Morgan coach Kade Morrell said after the game. “The girls have been working through this lull we’ve been in for the last week and a half. I was proud of how they came together as a team tonight. No one cared who was on the floor. They just played hard tonight. To have them back mentally was good to see.”
Jaci Jensen scored a game-high 23 points on a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor, including four 3-pointers. She also went 5-for-7 from the free throw line. Jensen also had nine rebounds, eight steals, and four assists – all team highs.
“Jaci played hard tonight,” Morrell said. “She’ll beat herself up for missing those two free throws, but she’s a competitor.”
The Trojans also got a significant boost off the bench from underclassmen Emery Wheeler, Sydney Cragun, Ashlyn Morrell and Jacie House. The four sophomores, along with senior Paige Gleason, combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds and provided a huge spark when the Trojans found themselves down by double digits in the first quarter.
“Bench play was huge tonight,” Coach Morrell said. “They played phenomenally.”
In that first period, the Bears could do no wrong. Nearly every shot they took went in the basket and before the Trojans could blink, they were down by 14 points. There was a sense of déjà vu as the things that have been plaguing the Trojans reared their heads again – porous defense and awful shooting.
But despite the big early deficit, Coach Morrell felt that something was different against Bear River.
“Even though we got down, it was a totally different feeling than the rest of the games,” he said. “You could just feel it in them that they were okay. They just kept battling and kept working hard. I’m happy it came out the way it did for them.”
The Trojans outscored Bear River 42-22 over the final three quarters.
The win was critical for Morgan, which was hoping to begin region play on a positive note. It was also big for players like starting center Marcie Stapley, who missed almost the entire preseason with a lingering volleyball injury.
“We’re finally getting most of our players back,” Morrell said. “For a couple of them, this was really their first game. Now that we get the whole team in sync, it will help a lot. Hopefully this win will be a good springboard into region play.”
The Trojans’ first two region games took place on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, against Summit Academy and South Summit, respectively. These games will be recapped next week.