MCHS wins season opener at Tiger Classic
By: SCOTT JOINER
Morgan City’s basketball team got off to a slow start on Monday in its first game of the season before beating Jeanerette, 58-27, in the team’s first game of the Tiger Classic.
Early on, the game had a definite first-game-of-the-season feel with the teams combining for seven points. Jeanerette led 4-3 after the first quarter.
“It was tough to watch. We were shooting shots — open shots — in the first half,” MCHS (1-0) coach Jeremy Whittington said. “I finally just decided to turn it up and go man to man and full court press and we got after it and got quick points. We got some confidence and got into the mode of scoring in transition.”
MCHS continued to struggle in the second quarter but Malcolm Watkins picked up several buckets in the paint and Jaylen Jones hit a 3-pointer late in the quarter for a 15-15 tie at halftime.
Morgan City opened the second half playing tenacious defense with Watts stealing an inbounds pass and scoring an easy bucket. Eric Walker robbed the inbound pass on two straight plays to put MCHS up 21-17.
Watts and Derrick Walker hit 3-pointers to extend the Tigers’ lead to 32-17, which gave the Tigers a noticeable boost in confidence.
Part of the early scoring woes can be chalked up to the players not having much time together as a unit.
MCHS lost four starters to graduation and the one returning starter, Jalen Johnson, is sidelined with an ankle injury for the first few weeks of the season.
“I guess we haven’t been together enough that when they get a three-on-two break to know what each other does and read the defenders,” Whittington said. “That’s something we continue to work on. We had them all night, we had the transition offense all night, but we just didn’t do anything with it for a while.”
The fourth quarter began much like the first quarter with just two points scored in the first four minutes, but easy baskets in transition and a 3-pointer from Aquinndus Humphrey sealed the win for MCHS.
Watts led the team with 14 points, Watkins had 12 and Walker added nine.
Jeanerette (0-1) was led by Marcus Culley’s 12 points, Catura Borel had seven and Paul Richard added six.
The inconsistency is something the young Tigers will have to work through, but the third quarter outburst is something they can build on in today’s game against New Iberia Senior High at 7 p.m.
“I want them to have fun,” Whittington said. “I’m fully aware that we lost a lot of talent last year. But, I’m also aware of, when kids have fun and have a blast playing like this group may have, they can start to get a little confidence about them and really surprise some people.”