The driver’s seat is a nice place to be.
That’s where Morgan High School’s boys’ basketball team finds itself after just two Region 13 games. Last week, the Trojans knocked off both Summit Academy and South Summit to improve to 13-2 on the season and establish themselves as the team to beat in region competition.
On Wednesday in the region opener, the Trojans topped Summit Academy. Then on Friday, Morgan traveled to Kamas, where it overcame a sluggish first half to beat South Summit. They’re only two games in, but the Trojans already have the best record in the region.
Morgan 71, Summit Academy 63
Many in the state have felt that Summit Academy is the best team in Region 13, and perhaps the most talented team in all of 3A. Like Layton Christian Academy, which Morgan defeated on Jan. 5, the Bears are very athletic and provide all kinds of matchup problems for opponents. Forward Jay Gilson and guard Isaiah Green proved that to be true as they combined for 35 points against Morgan.
But the Trojans are also a matchup nightmare for other teams. If it’s not Cade Russell bombing away from the 3-point line, it’s Trey Miles or Kaleb Calderwood pounding it inside. Add in slashing guard Laine Carter and defensive terror Tyson Hurd and it’s safe to say that the Trojans have the most complete starting five of any team in the region.
Against the Bears it was Russell and Miles. Russell poured in 25 points, including five 3-pointers, while Miles added 19 points and eight rebounds. Calderwood nearly had a double-double, with nine points and 11 rebounds. Carter chipped in with 10 points.
“We trust each other and we work together really well,” Miles said. “I think we’re starting to get to know that we all can shoot and we can all do things. It’s teamwork, man.”
The Trojans and Bears kept things close for most of the game until the Trojans finally started to pull away in the second half. They led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter and had an answer nearly every time the Bears got close down the stretch.
Because of some first half rebounding woes and a few unforced turnovers in the last few minutes of the game, Morgan Coach Brad Matthews freely admitted that it wasn’t the prettiest win of the season for the Trojans, but it was an important one.
“To get the first (region victory) against that team, who was ranked first in the state and is just loaded with talent, that’s a good one to have right there,” Matthews said.
“I think it can set the tone for the rest of the season for us,” he said. “Now we’ve got to just keep it going.”
Morgan 61, South Summit 51
In their first region road game, the Trojans could have easily looked past the Wildcats, especially after an emotional win over Summit Academy just two days earlier. And for a while, South Summit gave Morgan everything it could handle. But a very strong second half, led by Carter, Hurd and Calderwood, pushed the Trojans to the 10-point win.
Carter, in particular, was very impressive. He drove to the basket at will, scoring layup after layup. He finished with a team-high 15 points.
“Laine had a great game,” Matthews said. “That’s what he can do and that’s what we need from him.”
“My length helps so that I can get out in front of defenders when they try to step in front of me,” Carter said. “Once I get that first step on them, they can’t beat me to the rim. I make one move, and I can get to the rim, and I finish.”
All five starters scored in double figures for the Trojans. Calderwood, Hurd and Russell tossed in 12 points apiece, while Miles added 10. Calderwood also had 11 rebounds.
“This is probably one of the better team wins we’ve had,” Matthews said. “In that first half we struggled. South Summit took us out of what we wanted to do. But then we did the same to them in the second half. We flipped it on them and started doing what we wanted offensively.”
Even though the Trojans are just two games into region play, their strong preseason record has put a target on their backs. Carter is well aware that other teams will be coming at them with their best efforts.
“Now that we’re 13-2, 2-0 in region, teams are going to be looking for us now,” he said. “We’ve just got to come out focused every night and play.”
The Trojans’ next home game will be on Wed., Jan. 31, against South Summit. After a trip out to Grantsville on Feb. 2, the final home game of the regular season will be on Feb. 9 against Judge Memorial.