By Jeremy McDonald
GRESHAM, Ore.– Nearly a week after dunking his way to 1,000-points against Roseburg on December 17, Sprague’s Dallon Morgan was back on the court again helping Sprague once more against a sharp-shooting Gresham squad Thursday afternoon.
The dunk, in a game where the Olympians defeated the Indians 71-42 to open the Sheldon Shamrock Slam, made the senior post player just the seventh-player in the history of the Sprague program to achieve the milestone.
And by tournament’s end, Morgan moved to sixth on the list. Passing former teammate Kobe Withers on the All-Time Points list during that same Sheldon tournament entering this past weeks’ worth of games.
“It feels pretty amazing knowing all the work that I’ve put into this far. Just those are the accomplishments that you get, it feels pretty good like getting your first offer,” starts Morgan. “Just knowing that I’m up there with the greatest guys that have ever played at Sprague.
“I’ve always loved passing out from the post, sometimes I’m a little too generous. I should just score,” smiles Morgan, continuing. “But for me, I need to dominate first so they can double team me and get other guys open ready to shoot.”
Morgan led the Oly charge against the Gophers Thursday with a game-high 22 points. By the end of the third quarter, he had 19 points and grabbed some crucial rebounds in Sprague’s attempt in limiting Gresham’s leading scorer in Esyah Pippa-White. Working around, and with, a new wrinkle they worked into their defensive gameplan to slow him down.
It worked as they held Pippa-White to 12 points. But it had opened opportunities for other shooters to make up for the difference in RJ Alexander and Scotty Riddle. Alexander led the Gophers with 21 points and Riddle contributed 16, exposing the weakness as they look to work upon it with Oregon City and Beaverton on the horizon.
“We learned a lot, (Oregon City and Beaverton) are really similar skill-wise. We were up most of this game and we made some mistakes down the final stretch to end up losing and we talked about that in the post-game meeting and not going to make the same mistakes again,” Ryder Skogstad.
Skogstad backed Morgan up with 15 points in the 65-56 road defeat Thursday. The game saw Sprague build a halftime lead of 39-24, Gresham answered to take a 45-41 lead before the Olympians ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. Sprague had a brief 52-50 lead before the Gophers hit some big shots to edge the Olys down the stretch.
“This game really helped us show how hard we have to work,” Morgan said. “Flying around, playing with more intensity defensively and just talking to each other. I think we were too quiet in communicating where guys are at. Just knowing that we have to spread around on defense makes it easier.”
Sprague’s off until January 4 when they travel to Oregon City at 7:30pm before hosting the Beavers January 7 at 6:30pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald