Led by its trio of all-state caliber guards, the Morgan County boys defeated Hart County 68-54 on Thursday at the Macon Coliseum to win the Class AAA title for the third time in the last six years.
It marked the third time this season that Morgan County has beaten Hart County, its rival in Region 8. Morgan County won by 17 points and 11 points during the regular season.
“It means a lot,” senior guard Tyrin Lawrence said. “We’ve been working for his since the ninth grade. To go out on top, we’re very excited about that.”
Lawrence played a key role in the victory. He scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds – 17 of them defensive boards.
No. 1-ranked Morgan County (30-2) also got 14 points and four assists from Stevin Greene, 13 points and five assists from Austin Peay signee Alec Woodard, and 11 points from Phillip Crawford.
No. 8 Hart County (24-8) was led by Rex McCord with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Shone Webb added 11 points and five assists. Tyrese Morrison scored 10.
“We knew Hart County would be very aggressive, they’re well coached,” Morgan County coach Jamond Sims said. “They pride themselves on defense, so we had to take our time and pick our spots on when we were going to assert ourselves and drive to the basket.”
Morgan County went away from its 3-point attack for much of the second half when concentrating on attacking the rim. The Bulldogs shot only 11 3s all game.
“We shot very few long-range shots in the second half,” Sims said. “We focused on everything being more high-percentage in the second half because we knew we were a little bigger and would be able to get second-chance opportunities around the basket.”
Morgan County got out to a 19-12 lead after one quarter. But the Bulldogs really got fired up after Tyrin Lawrence had his dunk blocked by a Hart County player and had to be chastised by the lead official for his reaction.
That seemed to invigorate Morgan County, which went on an 8-3 run and took a 31-19 lead at the 2:51 mark. Hart County scored the last five points of the half to cut Morgan County’s lead to 31-24 at intermission.
“When I did the dunk thing, the crowd really got into it,” Lawrence said. “It brought energy after that and we fed off the energy they gave us. It made us mad. Usually I would have dunked that, wo we had to step it up a notch.”
Morgan County kept its distance from Hart County and expanded its lead to 44-35 after three quarters. Morgan County used some good outside shooting and free throw shooting to maintain a safe margin in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been in situations like this before,” Lawrence said. “Nothing rattled us. We kept our composure, executed, did the little things and were able to come out with a win.”
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