Boyd Bronco senior J.T. Morgan wasn’t focused on the number 1,000 when he stepped foot in J.K. Stanley Gymnasium Tuesday night.
Despite needing just 11 points to reach the milestone, Morgan was hoping to lead the Broncos to their seventh win of the season.
Morgan was able to get the win he wanted and achieve an individual goal as well. The senior scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Broncos past the Holloway Hawks 58-53.
Morgan has been the anchor of the Boyd basketball program the past three seasons. Losses on the court and departures from the roster never stopped Morgan from showing up everyday and giving his all.
The ultimate payoff for all the hard work came in the second quarter against the Hawks when Morgan received a pass from Christian Barrett on the right block and he leapt for a layup.
The game was stopped as the announcement was made that Morgan had scored his 1,000th point.
Boyd coach Chris Sullens was extremely proud of his senior, a player who coach Sullens estimates may be the first Bronco to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 career rebounds.
“I never say who the best player I’ve ever coached is, but I have no hesitation saying J.T. is the hardest working player I’ve ever coached,” said Sullens. “He earns everything as he gets and as good of a player he is, he’s a better young man.
“I’m glad my children attend school with people like J.T. He’s a great example for children and I’m glad I’ve had the pleasure to coach him.”
Although many fans showed up just to watch Morgan pass the 1,000-point barrier, most stuck around to watch a tightly contested game.
Morgan dominated the paint on his way to his second 30-point game this season and the Broncos held a late lead against the Hawks.
Boyd led by three points in the final minute when Holloway rushed up the court to try a game-tying 3-pointer.
The Broncos decided to trap the Hawks, but the team’s point guard tried to battle through a double team and force a 3-pointer.
The referees whistled a foul, but ruled the violation had been committed before the shot was attempted and sent the Hawks to the line for a one-and-one instead of three shots.
The call provoked a rebuttal from the Holloway coach who thought his team should be shooting three free throws. His displeasure for the call was met with a technical foul, which gave Boyd two free throws.
Senior Brody Fernandez hit both free throws, effectively ending any chance the Hawks had to pull off an upset against the Broncos.
Though it was evident to the Hawks early in the game Boyd intended to get Morgan his points, Holloway couldn’t stop the Bronco forward.
Morgan got on the board early with a three-point play, then got another quick layup to score five points in the first period as Boyd built an early eight-point advantage.
Morgan spent most of the second quarter going to the free-throw line for points. Morgan finished the game 15-of-18 from the charity stripe, six of those coming in the second period.
By the time Morgan reached 10 points in the first half, the entire crowd seemed to be holding its breath waiting for the next basket to go through the net.
Barrett got the chance to assist on the bucket. Instead of taking an open 15-foot jumper, Barrett found Morgan lurking underneath the basket.
Morgan did a pump fake, then jumped up and calmly banked the layup in as fans rose to their feet and gave Morgan a standing ovation.
After the stoppage, Fernandez and Morgan kept piling up points as Boyd led by five at halftime.
Boyd nearly saw the Hawks steal the game, but Morgan’s 31 points and 16 from Fernandez helped the Broncos improve to 6-3 in the Middle Tennessee Athletic Conference.
The Broncos played last night against Middle Tennessee Christian School with scores being unavailable at press time. Boyd will travel to Christian Community tonight and play host to Providence Christian tomorrow for the school’s homecoming.
Action will begin at 6 p.m. both nights with a girls game.