By Derrick Mahone
In their first three games of the season, Morrow boys and girls teams have gone threw many different experiences.
The Mustangs girls team has been on the end of a blowout loss, and has had to hold on for a close win while the boys team is still experimenting with its offensive and defensive schemes.
Morrow was able to sweep Jackson Friday in the Morrow Thanksgiving Classic at home.
The girls team fought off a scrappy Jackson team for a 47-40 win while the boys used a late third quarter burst to blow open a close game for a 79-50 victory.
"I don't want to sound overly critical, but we could have played better in spots," Morrow girls coach Yolanda Jenkins said. "I'm glad that we did experience a game like this. We need to learn to play in a close game. We were able to answer Jackson's comeback attempt. Every games sort of prepares you for the postseason."
Morrow (2-1) opened the tournament with a win over Jasper County, but sustained a 29-point loss to Class A Southwest Atlanta Christian in its second game. Jenkins said that poor free throw shooting has plagued the team in the early part of the season. In the last two minutes of its win over Jackson, the Mustangs only converted two of five free throw attempts.
Chatil Bradford, who led the Mustangs with 14 points, scored five of the team's last 10 points to but the game away.
"Free throw shooting has been our Achilles heel," Jenkins said. "In the last three games, I think we have shot like 40 percent. You wouldn't think that we practice free throws everyday. It is just a lack of focus."
Jackson pulled to within 41-40 with 2:35 remaining on a lay-up. However, the Mustangs would not fold as Carlesha Hart scored on a jumper with 2:19 left to extend the lead. Bradford would make 1 of 2 free throws on Morrow's next possession and then score on a lay up after a miss shot from Jackson for a 46-40 lead. Morrow would an another free throw to close out the game with the win.
In the boys' game, Morrow fell behind 20-14 in the first quarter as coach Jay Livingston did some experimenting with his team. He said he wanted to see some different things on film so the team could see what needs improvement. Morrow led 32-31 at halftime before blowing the game open midway through the third quarter.
"We were working to be innovative in the early part of the game," Livingston said. "We just wanted to try some different things. Our major concern is to try to educate the players on what they need to do."
The Mustangs (3-0) outscored Jackson 25-5 in the third quarter as they went on a 11-0 run during the quarter. Morrow took control of the game when it held Jackson without a field goal during a seven-minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters.
Charles West led the Mustangs with 23 points.
"One of our goals is not to give up a 20-point quarter," Livingston said. "We also want to hold our opponents under 50 points."