Hudson’s dominant performance too much for Morrow

A+Panther+guard+passes+the+ball+to+a+teammate.+The+Panthers+moved+the+ball+well+against+Morrow%2C+totaling+14+assists.

Lilly Carter

A Panther guard passes the ball to a teammate. The Panthers moved the ball well against Morrow, totaling 14 assists.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

On Jan. 6, the Starr’s Mill basketball team traveled to Morrow in hopes of beating the Mustangs to win their second straight region game after falling to McIntosh earlier in the season. However, Morrow had different plans and upset the Panthers 60-55. Senior forward Drew Hudson filled up the stat sheet with 27 points, five rebounds, and five blocks, but it wasn’t enough. The disappointing loss led to this week’s crucial rematch for the Mill, as they fight for the No. 1 seed in region-3 AAAAA.

Everyone knows their roles and we just have to keep doing what we do.”

— head coach Brandon Hutchins

“We just have to keep playing,” head coach Brandon Hutchins said. “Everyone knows their roles and we just have to keep doing what we do.”

Coming into the rematch with Morrow, the Panthers had won their past five games and found a rhythm. Despite winning the first matchup, Morrow wasn’t able to snap the streak. Hudson led the team once again, this time scoring 22 points to go along with 12 rebounds and three assists. Junior Nate Allison contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds of his own, and the duo proved to be too much for the visiting Mustangs.  

Senior guards Rico Carter and Leviticus Glover each scored 15 points and 17 points, respectively. The Morrow offense grabbed plenty of offensive rebounds, but still struggled to score. The Panther defense also forced many turnovers that gave them a comfortable lead throughout the game. When Morrow finally got within striking distance, bad shot selection ultimately led to their 66-54 defeat.

“I was just feeling it,” Hudson said. “I just had to step it up after last game. We were getting tired and had to finish strong.”

Starr’s Mill used the first quarter to showcase a defense that has helped them reach a 7-2 region record. On offense Allison took over for the Mill, scoring 13 points. Displaying an array of post moves, Allison single-handedly out-scored Morrow in the first quarter. On the few possessions Morrow didn’t turn the ball over, they struggled to get easy looks and instead settled for outside shots with no luck. The Panthers led 21-9 after one quarter.

In the second quarter, momentum shifted to the Mustangs as Starr’s Mill began to turn the ball over and give Morrow easy chances at the free throw line. The Mustangs clawed back into the game and, following free throws from a technical foul, only trailed 28-25. After the final few minutes drained off of the clock, the Panthers led 30-26 at halftime.

Lilly Carter
A Panther player drives past a defender. Starr’s Mill did most of their damage from inside the arc, scoring 60 of their points from inside the three-point line.

“We were playing well and passing the ball well,” Allison said. “My teammates were looking for me and everything just worked out.”

The third quarter was much like the first, as the Panthers offense got rolling once again. They opened the quarter with an 8-0 run, and all eight points were scored by junior guard Julian Lynch. The run extended to 13-0, and included a technical foul on Morrow. The rest of the quarter followed the same pattern, and by the end of the period the Panthers controlled the game with a 54-36 lead.

Starr’s Mill played a sloppy fourth quarter on offense, but their defense prevented a comeback from the Mustangs. Once again turnovers plagued the Panthers, but Morrow forced difficult shots and couldn’t take advantage of the extra opportunities. Morrow outscored the Mill by six in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough and the Mustangs fell 66-54. The Panthers successfully avenged their previous loss to Morrow, and in doing so retained their spot atop the region.

“We are really ready for [Fayette County],” Hudson said. “We know what’s at stake and we need a win.”

Now 14-7, the Panthers have won six games in a row and boast a 7-2 region record. Morrow fell to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in the region. The Panthers’ next opponent is Fayette County. Starr’s Mill knocked off the defending region champions 57-38 earlier this season, but the 12-9 Tigers will have home court advantage this time around. With a 5-3 region record, this game is crucial for Fayette County as they can inch closer to the top spot in the region. The contest is on Jan. 26 at 8:30 p.m.