The Morrison Eagles took flight in the first round of the James C. Haile Invitational State Tournament held in Murfreesboro on Friday night. The Eagles’ first opponent was the York Dragons.
The Eagles offense soared higher and faster than the Dragons and Morrison took a 38-17 win in the first round of the state tourney.
Irving Espinoza of Morrison led all scorers with a game-high 15 points. He buried three 3-pointers in the first half.
Morrison set up and ran the offense in the first quarter and the Eagles executed against the Dragon defense. Espinoza slipped free of his defender and hit his mark on two 3-pointers behind the arch.
Keegon Scott also found the range from behind the arch for his only 3-pointer of the game and he added a pair of free throws before the end of the first. Kasen Holder worked inside the defense for his first two points.
York was focused on defense and didn’t leave much time for offense. The Dragons did manage to find a way to drop in seven points by the end of the first. Morrison led 13-7.
The Eagle defense tightened its grip in the second quarter. The Eagles covered the floor and were a step ahead of the Dragons at every turn.
Zac Strong from York scored a basket and was the sole source of offense just prior to the half.
The same three Eagles carried the offensive load in the second quarter and the trio combined for nine, second-quarter points. The Morrison defense was quicker and forced York to turn the ball over much of the second quarter and at the half Morrison extended its lead to 22-9.
Morrison continued to execute in the second half and for the second consecutive quarter York was limited to only two points. Strong got inside the defense for the open look for the Dragons in the third.
It was another trio of Eagles in the third. Elijah Fults added a basket in close and Morrison added eight points in the third and led 30-11 after three.
Morrison cruised through the fourth quarter with another eight points. Dominique Betancourt scored his only two points in the final period.
The Dragons did not have enough left to make a run for the lead and Morrison defeated York by a final score of 38-17 in the first round of the state tourney. The Eagles will play again this Friday night in Murfreesboro.
EAGLE SCORING – Irving Espinoza 15, Kasen Holder 10, Keegon Scott 9, Dominique Betancourt 2, Elijah Fults 2
DRAGON SCORING – Nic Smith 6, Noah Smith 6, Zac Strong 4, Roger Meadows 1