By Jeffery Armstrong
The third time was the charm for the Morrow Lady Mustangs.
After suffering losses at the hands of state-ranked teams Stephenson and Redan in a two-week period, Morrow played one of its best overall games to defeat the No. 10 Riverdale Lady Raiders 61-45 Friday night in Region 2-AAAAA action at Morrow High. It was Riverdale's first loss.
"I'm very pleased with how we played defensively tonight. We forced turnovers and we capitalized on those stops," said Morrow head coach Yolanda Jenkins. "It made the girls want to play defense when we got the steals and turned them into easy baskets."
Morrow (5-2, 2-2) came out smoking in the first quarter, hitting their shots, stopping Riverdale and quickly racing to a 17-8 lead with 3:00 left. Riverdale (4-1, 3-1) went on an 8-0 run to finish the quarter and trail 17-16. The Lady Raiders led 22-19 at the 4:28 mark of the second quarter, their last lead of the game. Five points from Jasmine Parker and four from Jordan Greenleaf helped Morrow rally to tie the game at 24 and the Lady Mustangs didn't look back after that.
Greenleaf sparked the team to a 53-41 fourth quarter lead with inside scoring and a couple of her five blocked shots, which allowed Parker and Chiquita Coleman to finish with several fast-break layups and put the game out of reach. Greenleaf again notched a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Parker and Coleman also finished with 16 for Morrow, which forced 24 Riverdale turnovers. Antoinette Williams led Riverdale with 17 points and freshman Laura Broomfield added nine.
Riverdale 81, Morrow 73 (boys): Riverdale sophomore center Gani Lawal nearly had a triple-double Friday night, tallying 26 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocked shots in the Raiders' road win over the previously unbeaten Morrow Mustangs. Lawal led four Raiders in double figures as the team benefited from great ball movement and missed shots by the Mustangs (6-1, 3-1).
The iron was unkind to Morrow as the usually sharp-shooting group missed 15 of its 19 3-point shots attempted.
The game was tight throughout, but the young Raiders were poised, making crisp passes and hitting their shots to pull away late in the game.
Morrow closed the gap to two points twice in the fourth quarter, but Riverdale either made baskets or sank its free throws to seal the victory. Fred Clyde scored 15 points for Riverdale, followed by 15 from Trent Mitchell and 10 from Travis Parham.
Eric Wilson led Morrow with 18 points, followed by Richard Jennings with 16 and Adrian Grishby added 14.