Photo by Heather Middleton
By Derrick Mahone
Julito Hutchinson is not ready for basketball season to end, and the Morrow senior played like it Tuesday in the team's Region 4-AAAA first round playoff game.
The 6-foot-4 forward scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Mustangs to a 75-51 win over Creekside to help the team advance to Thursday's quarterfinals matchup against Jonesboro, the second seed in the region. "He is a senior, and he came in here ready to play," Morrow junior point guard Jordan Faciane said.
"He was a leader out there. I don't think he was ready for his career at Morrow to be over."
Morrow, the No. 7 seed in the region, dominated from the start as the Mustangs were able to contain Creekside's all-region forward Aaron Harrison.
The senior finished with just 10 points, a night after scoring 28 points to lead the Seminoles to a win over Mundy's Mill Monday.
Tuesday's game belonged to Hutchinson, who had 18 second-half points.
"I'm a senior, and I have to lead," Hutchinson said.
"I was out there trying to lead my team to a win. I hope we can keep it going. We have to play every game as if it was our last. We want to go to state."
With the win, Morrow improved to 12-13 as Creekside ended its season with a 4-19 record. The Seminoles had only won two of its last 12 games.
Now, Morrow is hoping for some momentum going into its game against Jonesboro, which has won its last 10 games.
During the season, Morrow lost nine games by four or fewer points.
We were ahead in most of those games," Morrow coach Jay Livingston said. "We are an excellent team with some talent. It is just a matter of us executing the finer parts of the game. We just need to start believing in our ability. I think tonight we executed well, and you saw the end result."
Livingston said that he is hoping that Hutchinson will continue to execute. "Julito played his usual game," Livingston said.
"We try to get him in a comfort spot in the game. We just want him to be more assertive in the game."
The Mustangs also got 19 points from sophomore Dante Ottley and Faciane finished with 11 points as they led throughout the contest.
Riverdale (girls) 46, Morrow 44: Freshman Keimairra Haylock scored a game-high 21 points to led the Lady Raiders to win as they avenged a regular season loss.
Riverdale led throughout, but Morrow challenged late in the contest. Mustangs guard Neon Powell hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining as they trailed 44-43. Haylock made one of two free throws as the Lady Raiders extended its lead to 45-43 with 33 seconds remaining.
Powell finished with 16 points to led the Lady Mustangs, who season ended with a 10-15 record.
Riverdale takes on No. 2-seeded Mundy's Mill today.
Jonesboro 45, Mount Zion 42: Sophomore Victoria Florence scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Lady Cardinals, who battled from a six-point deficit early in the fourth quarter for the win.
Lady Cardinals guard Briana Benson made a few throw to tie the game at 35-35, but a 3-pointer by Florence gave them the lead with 5:49 remaining.
Mount Zion (7-20) would tie the game at 38-38 on a three-point play by Camille Hankerson with 5:36 remaining, but a layup by Ashley Hand would give them the lead for good.
Kenisha Reeves would finish with 14 points for Jonesboro (13-13), which takes on North Clayton today in the quarterfinals. Hankerson led Mount Zion with 13 points.
Banneker 55, Mt. Zion 49: Ryann Green scored 15 for Banneker and Austin Smith 13 for Mt. Zion.