By Jeffery Armstrong
Morrow Mustangs head basketball coach Jay Livingston would like to repeat the things that happened last season: a strong start to the season and a great region tournament which culminated in its second straight region tournament title.
He doesn't want a repeat of the last few weeks of the regular season, when dissension in the ranks caused the Mustangs to lose eight of their last nine games and drop to the eighth seed in the region playoffs.
"I hope that doesn't happen again," said Livingston. "I don't think it will, because this group of players have been together for a long time. They truly like each other."
It will be difficult for Morrow to like the new region (2-AAAAA) they'll be in for basketball in the 2004-05 season. Morrow will compete against several strong teams like Lithonia, Douglass, Redan, Tri-Cities and up-and-coming county rival Riverdale.
Livingston said the Mustangs will face teams that have won the region or been to the state playoffs in the last three years, but he still believes his team has the potential to win another region title.
"We're going to have to fight every night in this region. But that's good because it prepares you for the state playoffs," Livingston said. "And I think this team will do well n from top to bottom, I believe this is the best assemblage of talent at Morrow since I've been here."
Livingston has been impressed with the eight seniors he has returning on his team: Eric Wilson, Adrian Grishby, Ronald Aguilar, Richard Jennings, Stephen Smith, Keith Jones, Jonathon Zeno and Marques Douglas. He said all have been practicing and scrimmaging well and there are some young guys who are also playing strong.
"If this keeps up, we might have another platoon situation where we have five players come in the game at one time," said Livingston. "They can be like our Final Four team (2001-02)."
The one thing Livingston said is disappointing with playing in a new region is that they don't have a natural rival in Region 2-AAAAA.
Several of the teams have been playing each other in Region 7-AAAAA for years while Morrow, Newton County and Riverdale are new to each of the teams.