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Morgan City High School's Anaria Clark passes to a teammate during Tuesday's contest against Franklin. Morgan City won the game 54-42. The Lady Tigers will begin District 7-4A action Friday when they travel to face Vandebilt Catholic. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

Third-quarter run propels MCHS past Franklin

A quick run to begin the third quarter helped Morgan City extend its lead and ultimately defeat the Franklin Lady Hornets 54-42 in nondistrict girls basketball action Wednesday in Morgan City.
Ahead 20-16 at halftime, Morgan City made buckets on its first three offensive possessions to increase its lead to 27-16 approximately 1:30 into the second half.
While Franklin cut its deficit to as little as 31-25 later in the third quarter on an inside bucket, the Lady Hornets could get no closer the rest of the way.
Morgan City’s lead swelled to as much as 12 on two occasions in the fourth quarter, the final time on a buzzer-beater three-pointer by Anaria Clark to end the game.
“Right now, we just got to get better,” Morgan City Coach Duriel Singleton said. “We’re young in some spots. We had to replace a couple of good players, and my girls, they’re starting to come around, get better. We just got to get in better shape, and it shows because we started missing a lot of easy layups because we couldn’t run. We were tired. We couldn’t shoot the three real good tonight because our legs weren’t under us, but we got a couple more games and we’re going to work on that.”
Morgan City’s third-quarter run began when senior Sh’Diamond Holly hit a three-pointer off an assist by teammate Haylie Crappell on Morgan City’s first offensive possession for a 23-16 lead.
Morgan City followed it up with an inside bucket by India Richardson for a 25-16 lead before a drive to the basket by Deryon Johnson off another Crappell assist for a 27-16 Morgan City advantage with about 6:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Morgan City and Franklin both struggled at times making inside baskets, but the Lady Tigers were more opportunistic with their chances. Franklin had inside looks at the basket all night, courtesy of nice passing and fast break situations.
“They’re a great team,” Singleton said of Franklin. “They got a good ball handler, good mind with (Statrail Butler). I hate to see her next year when she’s a senior, but I want to see them again, because they’re a good team. Real physical, real tall girls, and right now I had to go with a couple short one’s, so we got to work on boxing out, blocking out and just being aggressive.
“We watched so many passes just go out of bounds, so many fast-break opportunities just go out of bounds,” Singleton added. “We missed so many layups. That goes with just being in shape and just growing up. We got a lot of girls that didn’t play last year playing some ball.”
In the first half, Morgan City led 8-6 after a period of play, pulling ahead on Johnson’s turnaround bucket off an inside pass from Holly with less than a minute remaining.
Franklin came back and tied the game at 12 on Makhai Fernandez’s basket with less than three minutes remaining in the half and took a 14-12 advantage on a fast break layup by Rontrinia Hawkins while she was fouled with 2:08 remaining.
Morgan City tied the game at 14 on a pair of free throws by Mariah Pleasant with 1:24 remaining, and the teams traded the lead in the rest of the half, with Franklin taking its final lead of the game on a three-pointer by Aaliyah Smith for a 17-16 advantage.
Morgan City closed the half with buckets by Holly and Johnson for a 20-16 advantage.
Johnson led Morgan City with 18 points, while Holly scored 13. Other Morgan City scorers were Crappell, seven; Pleasant and Richardson, six apiece; and Clark, five.
Fernandez led Morgan City with 15 points, while Hawkins also reached double figures with 14. Statrail Butler added nine.
Monday, Morgan City routed Covenant Christian Academy 77-13.
Morgan City led 24-0 after a quarter, 44-4 at halftime and 71-6 after three periods of play.
Holly led Morgan City with 32 points. Other Morgan City scorers were Crappell, 16; Richardson, 10; Johnson, eight; Clark, five; Pleasant, four; and Tyonna Walker, two.

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