GRADY COUNTY —
The show the Morgan boys put on in Verden Tuesday night could not have been on a better stage.
Tryston Morgan's 26 points took the Tigers past Amber-Pocasset 52-38 on a night that was about more than the basketball. Verden and Am-Po teamed up to hold "2 Teams, One Cause" to support breast cancer research. Amongst the seas of pink in the stands were breast cancer sufferers and survivors. One of them was Donna Schuerman, the aunt of Verden players Tryston and Hunter Morgan.
"It definitely felt good," Tryston Morgan said. "I love aunt Donna. It feels good to represent her like that and to know that I played really good for her tonight, when she's here. She doesn't get to come to many of our games any more, because of her cancer."
A consistent finisher, Morgan was the spark, as well, on this night, with a breakaway layup to give Verden an early five point lead. Hunter Morgan took it to seven later with his first of three buckets from beyond the arc on the night. He finished with 11 points, one of three players in double-digits for Verden.
Am-Po did show a bit of fight early. Caden Kennedy, who put 21 points up on the Tigers when these two met in the Grady County tournament last week, led his team with 12 points. He pulled the Panthers back within three of Verden with a close range jumper and two successful free throws.
But this time around, Verden focussed on squeezing Kennedy out, restricting the forward's time and space to either strike from down low or kick it out to a waiting guard on the perimeter.
"It seems like he's their go-to guy," Verden head coach Allen Conley said about Kennedy. "When he gets it down on the block, he's hard to stop. So we had guys sink in and help out. We were able to get a few steals there."
It didn't help the Panthers that their backcourt struggled. Tyler Miller sank his first three of the night well into the third quarter, and that was canceled out at the other end with another three for Hunter Morgan.
"Everybody collapses on [Kennedy], we go to kick it out, and it's tough because the guards aren't with him," Drew Miller, Am-Po head coach, said.
In contrast, when Tryston Morgan penetrated the lane and the Panthers collapsed, guards like Hunter or Dusty Keil, who also finished on 11 points, would sink their shots to extend the lead. All around it was a successful night for Verden, both for the boys and the breast cancer research drive. A total of $2,100 was raised to make sure people like Donna Schuerman have the chance to see their nephews play for as long they'd like.