0

Morrow looking to recapture proud tradition

Anthony McKissic is in his second season as the Morrow girls basketball coach. He is trying to lead the Mustangs to their first state tournament berth since 2008. (Special Photo)

Anthony McKissic is in his second season as the Morrow girls basketball coach. He is trying to lead the Mustangs to their first state tournament berth since 2008. (Special Photo)

photo

Ditara Pack is Morrow’s leading scorer with a 16-point per game average. The senior guard has already signed with Flagler College in Florida.

MORROW — There is no escaping the rich Morrow girls basketball tradition for this season’s coaches and players.

Each time they are in the gymnasium, state and region championship banners hang from the wall as reminders of the program’s past glory.

Most of the program’s success came before many of the current players were even born.

It has been five seasons since the Mustangs have clinched a state playoff berth, which came in 2008. The program’s last playoff win came during the 2005 season.

Thirteen games into the season, the Mustangs are optimistic about their chances. Morrow is 6-7 overall and 1-2 in Region 2-AAAAAA. The six wins equal last season’s total.

“We are looking to get our foot into the door, and make state,” Morrow coach Anthony McKissic said. “Each day we see the banners and the people that came before us that have laid the foundation. We are playing for the whole Morrow family.”

The team started off 5-1, but the injury bug caught up with the team.

But with everyone back, McKissic has been pleased with the team’s progress. Leading the way has been senior Ditara Pack, who is averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Flagler signee is also averaging 2.2 steals through the first 13 games.

“She has stepped up big time,” McKissic said. “She has provided us with some good leadership. Ditara is doing what we were expecting from her coming into the season. She is one of those high character players, so this is what we expected.”

Pack has only failed to score in double figures three times this season, and twice had season-highs of 25 points against Douglass and Clarkston, both wins.

“Practices are more intense, and no one is slacking on the team,” Pack said. “We want to reach our goal of making state, and we know we have to put in the work. We are playing well as a team.”

If Pack is the leader, she is getting plenty of help for her team.

Freshman Da’Ja Green is the team’s second-leading scorer with a 16.1 average. She is also averaging 4.3 assists and three steals a game. Despite this being her first season on the team, Green has already been appointed one of the captains.

“It is a lot of responsibility, but the other girls have really accepted me,” said Green, who missed two games with an injury.

“She has a work ethic that I haven’t seen before in a player so young,” McKissic said. “Before she leaves here, she will be one of the greats that have come through this school. She is very mature for her age.”

Because Morrow is in a building stage, McKissic said Green arrived at the right time for the program.

“It is a perfect situation for our program,” McKissic said.

But as the team builds, Morrow has its sights set on a state tournament playoff berth. The Mustangs are currently in fifth place in the region standings as they weather a four-game losing streak.

“We are working each day on our goal of state,” Pack said. “I have teammates that are determined, and ready to shoulder the load.”