MORGAN – In the spotlight of a community pep rally and dinner Feb. 16, the Morgan boys and girls basketball teams celebrated earning their respective trips to the Class 1A postseason for the first times in a generation, if not more.
The community rallied around the Morgan girls on the eve of their first Bi-District playoff victory in more than 50 years, and celebrated with the Morgan boys as they were presented with their first District Championship trophy in 20 years and “cut the nets down.”
“Sunday was such an amazing and fun celebration for the community of Morgan, Morgan boys basketball head coach Jeff Harrison said. “We are all so proud of what our girls and boys basketball teams have been able to accomplish. It has been an exciting and historical year. These are positive, impactful experiences that will stay with us.”
As the District 25-1A champion, the Morgan boys (13-1 in district, 27-5 overall) receive a first round bye and await the winner of Laneville (19-4) vs. Coolidge (18-10) Bi-District matchup at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Athens to be their opponent in an Area playoff game to be played Thursday or Friday at a time and place to be determined.
The Eagles soared to their 14th straight victory with a convincing 64-39 win over playoff-bound Perrin-Whitt in a non-district playoff warm-up game. Thanks to getting back-to-back forfeits over Kopperl and Gholson to close out the District 25-1A schedule, Morgan had not been on the court to play a game in 11 days.
With Morgan junior Derik Davenport scoring a game-high 20 points while Emilio Villalovos drained five three-point shots to finish with 19 points, the Eagles built a 17-point lead by halftime and never looked back against Perrin-Whitt.
“Ending the season with two forfeits was just too much time with no game play,” Harrison said. “Perrin-Whitt is playoff-bound and finished third in their district, so it was a good match up. We played solid, I was very pleased with our play. Our defense was solid which was a focus.”
Regardless of the warm-up game victory, the Eagles continue to soar with wind under their wings after claiming their first district title in 20 years in dramatic fashion.
With the score tied in overtime and only one second left on the clock, Davenport sank a free throw to hand the Eagles a thrilling 49-48 victory over second place Aquilla to clinch the District 25-1A championship Feb. 17.
“I’m so proud of my boys,” Harrison said. “We teach our kids that everything is earned, and they earned the district title. It has been 20 years since we have had one, so there is no containing the joy and excitement that we all have. We did it. It was a special night.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS