December 1, 2013

Morris Innovative boys basketball still a work in progress

Devin Golden

— Morris Innovative’s boys basketball team left its first varsity home game with a lot of room to improve.

In the second half, the Tigers started taking steps forward.

Morris Innovative lost 80-32 Saturday in a Region 7-2A contest against Dade County, which led 58-17 at halftime. The game was played at City Park Elementary School’s gymnasium.

In the second half, Morris Innovative (0-3, 0-1) was outscored 22-17, which coach Doug Peters considered was a large improvement from a turnover-filled first half. Per the GHSA’s mercy rule, the second half was played with just six minutes — opposed to the normal eight — and also with a running clock.

“We had a faster lineup in there,” he said. “We were a lot more aggressive. We still need to work on some things, like not picking up our dribble.”

Dade County (3-0, 1-0) used a full-court press and half-court traps to rattle Morris Innovative’s ball handlers in the first two periods but went to a half-court man-to-man defense after halftime.

“I was worried about some of our intensity,” Dade County coach Glen Hicks said of the change, “but I thought we did pretty well in the second half.”

Dade County led 7-0 before Oscar Reyes scored Morris Innovative’s first points on a layup. Justin Scott followed with a jumper on Morris Innovative’s next possession, making it 10-4, but Dade County finished the opening period with a 15-2 run.

Dade County closed the first half with a bigger, longer run, a 29-6 one starting early in the second quarter with the visitors ahead 29-11.

Peters said the Tigers have taken a step back since the year’s first game, played Monday.

“Going from the scrimmage to the first game, we definitely progressed,” he said. “I felt we took a step back at Sonoraville. Today, I don’t think we progressed either, but we had a break for Thanksgiving where we didn’t play or practice. We’ll get back to practice Monday and work on some things.”

Scott led all scorers with 16 points, six coming from two 3-pointers. He made one toward the end of the third period, which closed with Dade County ahead 69-24.

Freddie Tibbs and Tevin Robertson each scored five points. Jeremy Willis had four.

For Dade County, Nic Guddis led the team with 15 points and Clynt Bell added 13.

Aside from the loss, other details about the game were evidence of a young program, which started playing JV games only two years ago. All of the Tigers’ home games this season will be played at City Park’s gym because Morris Innovative’s gym floor isn’t large enough, Peters said. Additionally, the gym’s clock was not working and the official clock was kept on a tablet at the scorer’s table.

“We’ll have that fixed for Tuesday, which is our next home game,” Peters said.