Fort Dale loses to Morgan Academy 55-52 in overtime of Region 2 basketball championship.
Published 7:03 am Saturday, February 4, 2023
By Travis Gupton
The Selma Times-Journal
Morgan Academy defeated Fort Dale Eagles 55-52 in overtime to win the AISA Region 2 basketball championship.
Morgan Academy started the game hot. The offense got any shot they wanted. The Senators took smart shots.
No player carried the load in the first half for Morgan Academy. Teddy Henry had five points, Milton Hand and Cole Wilson each added four points. Allen Michael Creech scored six points and Allen Lightfoot added eight to lead the Senators.
Senators head coach Lebo Jones was pleased with the offense in the first half, believng it kept the Eagles’ defense off balanced.
“In the first half, we were making all of our shots which helped,” Jones said. “We were moving the ball well. We were cutting to the ball well. Allen Michael was cutting to the lane, which helped us a lot tonight and our wings were cutting to the basket tonight.
“I thought they didn’t do a really good job stopping us in the first half driving to the bucket and it really helped.”
Henry had the tough challenge to guard Sawyer Fossett in the first half. The pressure was successful, causing Fossett to turn the ball over and limit his offense.
In the first half Faustt was held to nine points. At the half, the Senators held a 32-24 lead. Coming out of the locker room, the Senators knew Fort Dale was going to come out swinging before its home crowd.
In the second half, the Eagles came out and turned up the intensity.
Morgan began turning the ball over and started making mental mistakes. The student section for Fort Dale and its fans got louder with every turnover Morgan made.
Despite the momentum shift, the Eagles could not find the bottom of the basket. Wilson silenced the crowd with a big three point shot and Morgan Academy was able to ride the early momentum shift and settled in to the second half.
Both teams went back and forth offensively and it seemed that the Senators had a grip on the momentum until Sawyer made a highly contested three point shot at the buzzer that seemed to suck the wind out of the sails of Morgan Academy.
Despite riding momentum in the fourth quarter the Eagles could not put away Morgan and an extra four minutes was needed to decide a champion.
Jones said he knew that if the Senators made it to OT they had a good chance of winning.
“Our guys had some adversity in the second half,” Jones said. “But we fought back and got that thing into overtime and I had a good feeling once we got into overtime we were going to win it.”
The Senators had three in double figures in the game: Allen Lightfoot (12 points), Teddy Henry (12 points) and Allen Michael Creech (14 points).
The Eagles were led in scoring by Fossett who had 20 points.
Creech was named the tournament MVP. Creech said if it wasn’t for his team, he never would’ve gotten the honor.
“It wasn’t just me it was my teammates,” Creech said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to get the shots up that I was able too. I wouldn’t have been able to get the free throw shots.
“They were passing me the ball. We were all contributing on defense and we were all helping each other out. So it wasn’t just me. It was the whole team and the coaches encouraging us and pushing us.”