Raiders win first district title in program history

Courtesy photo The Morgan Raiders girls basketball team defeated Bellaire Saturday at Meadowbrook High School in Byesville to claim a Division III district championship.

BYESVILLE — The Morgan High School girls basketball team took home its first ever district championship Saturday.

The Raiders defeated Bellaire 46-44 in a Division IV district final at Meadowbrook to advance to the “Sweet 16.” They’ll play in the regional semifinals Wednesday at Logan.

Morgan held a 13-12 edge after a quarter and stretched its lead to 23-19 at halftime. The Raiders picked up some breathing room after outscoring Bellaire 17-10 in the third period to go up 40-29 with eight minutes.

However, the Big Reds put together a rally, outscoring the Raiders 15-6 in the fourth quarter to get within two, but Morgan held on for the victory.

Kaylie Apperson, the program’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, led the Raiders with 13 points. She converted three triples in the contest. Rilee Coon added 12 while Kara Hopkins netted nine.

Bellaire’s Natalie Stoner came up with a game-high 15 points. Michaela Flaherty added 10 and Katrina Davis chipped in nine.

Morgan’s district title comes four days after winning the team’s first ever game at the district level. Wednesday, the Raiders bested Tuscarawas Valley 44-40 in the district semi. Now, the Matt Zumbro-coached Raiders are seeking their first ever regional win. It will have to come against Wheelersburg, winners of the Waverly 2 district, at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jim Myers Gymnasium.