By Jeffery Armstrong
The Morrow High basketball teams did something they haven't done in several years: win their own holiday tournament. Morrow got strong games from key players on both squads to win the 15th Annual Arrowhead Classic Championship games Saturday in front of enthusiastic fans at Morrow High Saturday night.
Morrow 63, Clarke Central 60 (boys): Morrow's Ronald Aguilar scored 20 points and the Mustangs played strong fourth-quarter defense to defeat the Clarke Central Gladiators 63-60 Saturday to win the Arrowhead Classic championship for the first time in three years. Aguilar, who was named to the All-Tournament team, led the team to victory in the toughest game Morrow played in the tourney. Morrow (3-0) won its first two games in blowout fashion.
"This is just the beginning; we still have a long way to go," Aguilar said. "It was an ugly game, but we came through and won it. If we believe and play as a team like our coaches tell us, good things will happen to us."
Morrow looked like it would send the Gladiators to the lions in the first half, as the team sprinted to a 29-21 second-quarter lead which became 35-28 at the half. Clarke came out smoking in the third quarter, led by hot-shooting forward Markis Callahan. Callahan, who was named to the All-Tournament team, scored 10 of his 19 points in the third, including a buzzer-beating jumper to give the Gladiators (2-1) their first lead since 2-0 at 52-50.
Aguilar and Keith Jones (10 points, 7 rebs.) kept the Mustangs in the contest in the third and Aguilar helped steady the team in the fourth. The Mustangs passed the ball well, solving Clarke's 2-3 zone defense to go on a 9-4 run to lead for good a 59-54. Morrow led 61-56 with a little more than 2:00 remaining, but the Mustangs held the ball until they got a good shot.
"This is a special group of players," said Morrow head coach Jay Livingston. "They have a chance to do very well."
Eric Wilson of Morrow was named Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Morrow 52, Mays 33 (girls): The Morrow Lady Mustangs outscored the Mays Lady Raiders 9-2 in the second quarter to take a 20-17 halftime lead and they never looked back, routing Mays 52-33 Saturday night to win the Arrowhead Classic championship for the first time in more than four years.
In fact, Morrow had lost four straight Arrowhead finals before winning the 2004 championship. It was the program's 700th win.
"This was a big win for the girls, especially for their confidence," said Morrow head coach Yolanda Jenkins. "I'm very proud of them."
Mays (2-1) came out on fire, getting seven points from forward Nekita Gartrell to sprint to a 15-11 lead. Morrow (3-0) buckled down on defense in the second quarter, holding the Lady Raiders to only two points. Mays missed eight straight shots before scoring. Mays missed seven more shots in the third quarter and Morrow took advantage, outscoring Mays 14-1 to lead 34-18 at the end of three and the rout was on.
Morrow was boosted by an outstanding game from junior post player Jordan Greenleaf. She scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and also added six blocks and three steals in leading the Lady Mustangs to victory. Greenleaf was one of three Morrow players with five or more rebounds in the game; the other two were Temperance Jacobs (five rebounds) and Jenitra Shields (six). Jasmine Parker of Morrow (nine points, four rebounds) was named to the All-Tournament team and Chiquita Coleman (eight points) was named tournament MVP.
Morrow's next opponent is the Stephenson Lady Jaguars, the defending state AAAAA champs, Tuesday at Morrow at 6 p.m.