The Morrison Eagles and the Centertown Warriors took the floor for the final time this season in the championship game of the postseason tournament.
The Eagles swept the Warriors during the regular season and were poised to take their second straight county title.
The potent Eagle offense and its high-flyers are hard to contain once they take to the air and the Warriors needed a perfect game to keep the Eagles grounded. Morrison jumped out to an early lead and was never really threatened during a 43-26 win over Centertown.
Kasen Holder and Irving Espinoza led all scorers with 17 points each and combined for 34 of Morrison’s 43 points.
Morrison started the game on the right foot and executed its offense early. Kasen Holder was the go-to guy in the first quarter and he blew through the Warrior defense and put up shots right in front of the rim.
Ryland Holder pulled down a rebound and quickly went back up with a shot. He was fouled and the shot did not fall. The first attempt was unsuccessful, the second hit bottom.
Espinoza scored two first-quarter points and drew most of the attention from the Warrior defense.
Nothing was easy for Centertown in the first quarter and the Warriors were stopped on many attempts to get inside the Eagle defense. On two occasions, Morrison fouled the Warriors when they were late to help.
Wyatt Wilson drew a hard foul inside and he shot 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. His brother Weston Wilson was hit on his way through the lane and he hit the second of two free throws. At the end of the first, Centertown trailed 9-3.
The Warriors stepped up their intensity on both ends of the floor in the second quarter. Brad Burke got inside the Eagle defense and was fouled on his way to the rim. Burke shot 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
Morrison tightened up its defensive effort on the inside. The ball was passed back outside and Wyatt and Weston Wilson took aim and fired from behind the arch and each brother hit their target from long range.
On the Morrison side of the floor, the Eagle offense struggled to find the range in the second quarter. Espinoza got free for a couple of open shots. He could not find the range behind the 3-point line.
Kasen Holder continued to attack the basket and he was sent to the free-throw line for his efforts. Ryland Holder put up a shot over a Warrior defender for his first basket from the floor. Morrison was unsuccessful and was not able to separate itself from Centertown in the second.
Morrison was up 19-13 at the half.
Morrison took over on defense and controlled the tempo the final two quarters. Espinoza went straight to work against the Warrior defense. He netted six more points in the third quarter. The Holders combined for five and the Eagles were on the move.
Centertown struggled on both ends of the floor. So much effort was put into stopping the Eagles from scoring, the Warriors could not execute on offense. Centertown trailed 30-19 at the end of three.
The Eagles continued to push the tempo and it forced Centertown to keep up. The damage to the Warrior offense was done and the Eagles circled high above the floor. Espinoza was relentless.
Kasen Holder picked up his final four points and Elijah Fults buried a shot from just outside the paint. Ryland Holder added two points down the stretch.
Weston Wilson and Will Rivers attempted to keep hope alive for the Warrior offense. Weston Wilson was fouled twice and shot 2-of-4 from the charity stripe. He scored inside for the final time in the fourth.
The Eagles soared their way to a second consecutive county championship over Centertown by a final score of 43-26.
EAGLE SCORING – Kasen Holder 17, Irving Espinoza 17, Ryland Holder 7, Elijah Fults 2
WARRIOR SCORING – Wyatt Wilson 8, Weston Wilson 8, Brad Burke 4, Gage Shockley 4, Will Rivers 2.