OGDEN – In two games during the 3-A state tournament, the Morgan Trojans had things happen to them that are almost unheard of for a Morgan girls basketball team.
On Thursday night against Desert Hills, they recorded a goose-egg in the first quarter and went 4-for-34 from the floor for the entire game. That’s 12 percent shooting. Predictably, the Trojans lost by 22.
That loss dropped the Trojans into the consolation bracket, where they faced Delta on Friday morning at the Dee Events Center. The game against the Rabbits started well enough as Morgan earned a 15-11 lead after one quarter.
But the Trojans’ second quarter was a stinker. They watched helplessly as Delta fired up 3-pointer after 3-pointer to the tune of 17 straight points. All told, Delta outscored Morgan 19-2 in the second period.
Morgan made a spirited fourth quarter comeback to pull within three with less than a minute left in the game. But the Trojans couldn’t come all the way back from the big first half deficit and fell to the Rabbits, 48-43, knocking them out of the tournament.
“Delta hit a couple of 3s and that just took the gas right out of us,” Morgan coach Brad Matthews said. “It definitely started on the defensive end and then we couldn’t hit a basket. That says a lot for momentum. That’s what happens when you allow a team to feel confident. We just got into too big of a hole and we couldn’t get out of it.”
Morgan’s shooting woes continued against the Rabbits, hitting just 13-of-46 shots (28 percent). Top scorer McKenzie Schenk scored 14 points to lead the Trojans, but went just 3-for-15 from the field. For the two games, the normally reliable Schenk hit only 3-of-22 shots.
In the second half, Matthews tried a variety of combinations, including using several freshmen and sophomores. During the fourth quarter, the mishmash of players started working. Shaylie Duncan hit a pair of 3s, as did seldom used Kate Blazzard. Suddenly the Trojans were down just three.
After a Lisa VanCampen layup and a quick timeout with about 30 seconds remaining, Morgan got a steal and had a couple of shots to tie the score or get within one, but couldn’t get the ball to go in. It was about then that Morgan discovered that they had been playing with only four players on the court for the whole sequence.
The miscommunication was indicative of just how out of sorts the Trojans (19-4) were during the tournament.
“We were swapping in defense for offense during the timeout,” Matthews said. “One of the girls we tried to sub in was already in and that just confused us. It wasn’t the girl’s fault. It was a coaching error. And yet we still got a steal and an opportunity for a layup playing four-on-five. That was just too bad.”
Despite the unexpected showing in the tournament, the future is bright in Morgan. The Trojans graduate just one senior and have a bevy of young, talented players waiting in the wings.