Warriors reclaim a win over Morgan, 56-46

Warren's Josh Huffman, right, and Morgan's Marty Sidwell battle for the ball during a high school boys basketball game Saturday in McConnelsville. Photo by Mike Morrison.

MCCONNELSVILLE — After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, Morgan found itself down by just nine with eight seconds to play in the second quarter in Saturday night’s rematch at home against Warren.

Those eight ticks proved to be enough time for Warren junior Noah Nichols to score seven points and let all the air out of the Raiders balloon as the Warriors went on to a 56-46 win.

The win served as a measure of revenge for the Warriors whose only loss of the season came at home to Morgan (50-43) earlier this month.

Nichols connected on his third three-pointer of the opening half with eight seconds to play to increase the Warren lead to a dozen and seconds later Josh Huffman came up with a steal of the inbounds pass and quickly kicked the ball back out to Nichols who splashed in another triple as the buzzer sounded while drawing a foul in the process.

Nichols made the freebie to extend his team’s lead to a comfortable 16 at the intermission.

“We knew we wanted to come back and get this win cause we were pretty disappointed after that first loss,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. “Noah (Nichols) gave us a huge, huge lift hitting those two three-pointers at the end of the half.”

Early on it would be an aggressive Warren defense on display as they forced Morgan into 18 first-half turnovers including 12 in the opening period when they pulled out to a 21-14 lead.

Nichols canned a pair of three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game as Warren quickly pulled out to an 11-point lead but Morgan got three-pointers by Tyler James, Owen Bowen and and Carter Myers to pull to within one at one time.

Warren scored eight of the first 10 points of the second quarter to push their lead to 29-16 but once again Morgan rallied to pull to within nine before Nichols barrage to end the first half.

The Raiders knocked down seven triples by six different players in the game including one by Ayden Hodge with 1:21 to play in the third to creep to within eight points of Warren at 43-35.

Warren got a huge bucket by their big man Huffman and a Nichols field goal with an assist from Jared Hall to push their lead back to 12 heading to the final quarter.

The Warriors made good on 12-of-16 free throws down the stretch and never let Morgan back within single digits the rest of the way as they posted their fifth consecutive win of the season following their season opening loss to the Raiders.

Huffman led all scorers in the game with 23 points while also yanking down a game-high nine rebounds while Nichols finished with 16, including four three-pointers.

Maddox is pleased to see his team beginning to find some additional scoring to compliment Huffman.

“Last time we played them it was Josh and hopefully somebody else,” joked Maddox, whose team will play Parkersburg on the road on Thursday. “We came into tonight knowing that other kids can score and they have all gotten a little confidence going now.”

Warren out rebounded Morgan 29-22 and dished out 13 assists compared to just seven for the Raiders.

The Warriors did turn the ball over 18 times in the game including seven in the final period.

“We’ve got to get a little bit better at putting a team away when we have the chance to,” said Maddox. “They took us out of our motion by blitzing, blitzing, blitzing and we didn’t get enough lay-ups out of it.”

Morgan, which fell to 3-3 with the loss were led by Bowen with 10 points while Myers and Marty Sidwell chipped in with eight apiece.

The Raiders will next host Cambridge on Wednesday.