MORGAN -- It was a game played 11 years ago, but the Morgan Trojans still use it as a reminder to take seriously the first round, one-and-done 3-A state playoff game.
In 2002, the Trojans were undefeated and the clear favorite to win it all. But unheralded Union waltzed into Morgan and stunned the Trojans in double overtime to crush their championship hopes.
On Friday, the Region 11 champions hosted Carbon, another undistinguished team, which on paper had no chance against the mighty Trojans. Turns out they had no chance on the court either.
Jake Miles scored 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and Cameron Skinner added 18 as the Trojans annihilated the Dinos, 86-49, leaving no room for chance. Morgan held a six-point lead after one quarter and then exploded for 21 straight points to start the second period, putting the game away before halftime.
"This first one is a really nervy game for us," said Morgan coach Jim Wiscombe, who was the coach during the infamous Union game. "We've had a bad experience before in this game."
"I was here (at the 2002 game) as a little kid," Skinner said, "seeing that undefeated team lose that play-in game. I still remember those guys on the court crying. I just didn't want to have that feeling tonight. Coach (Wiscombe) kept reminding us that this play-in game is huge and we can't overlook anybody - especially when we get to tournament time. So throughout the week we just practiced hard and went over the keys to stopping Carbon and we just had a good game all around."
Twelve Trojans put points on the board. Their depth was one of the keys to the easy victory. That and a suffocating full-court press that completely ran the Dinos ragged.
"I think we wore them down with the press," Wiscombe said. "They got tired and committed a bunch of turnovers and turnovers lead to easy baskets on the other end. Carbon was tired in the first quarter. The kids really got after it on defense."
Center Derek Young scored 17 points for Carbon, which finishes the year with an 11-12 mark. Young had a thunderous breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter, but it was a little anticlimactic considering the Dinos were down 40 at the time.
Morgan (20-2) has won 15 straight games and now faces Cedar, the second-place team out of Region 9, in the quarterfinal round next Thursday at the Dee Events Center. Skinner hopes last year's fifth-place finish and this year's tough region slate will be the experience the Trojans need to reach the top.
"We've had some close games in region," Skinner said. "It's been pretty crazy. But I think that's kind of a motivating factor for us -- to give it our all. You never know how long you're going to be there in the tournament. Last year taking fifth in state was nice, but you always want to do a little bit better than that. So we're going to come into this with our whole hearts for one desire -- and that's to be state champs."