Morgan’s late 3-point shooting is difference in Tigers’ victory

Fruita High’s Caitlin Warneke looks down court to see who is open during Friday night’s game against Grand Junction High School in Fruita. PHOTO BY DANIELLE STOMBERG

Sam Morgan hit two wide-open 3-pointers Friday night.

Those shots blew Grand Junction’s Southwestern League boys basketball game against Fruita Monument wide open.

Morgan’s second 3-pointer pushed the Tigers’ lead to 43-35 with three minutes left and Grand Junction (10-6, 4-1 Southwestern League) didn’t let up, winning 48-36 over the rival Wildcats (4-11, 0-4 SWL).

The result for Morgan was night and day from the Tigers’ game Tuesday night, when the senior guard didn’t enter the game until late the fourth quarter in Central’s blowout victory.

“Coach (Dutch Johnson) said he forgot to put me in,” Morgan said. “So it was nice to play in this game and be able to (play well).”

Despite not seeing any action Tuesday night, Morgan nailed two big shots when he had the chance Friday.

“Against Central he didn’t get off the bench,” Johnson said. “That was me losing track during the game, and I lost sleep about that Tuesday night. But for him not to play Tuesday and to come out there and hit two huge 3s, I am really proud of him, because it was huge.”

Morgan’s only points came on those two 3s, but the shots seemed to swing the momentum to Grand Junction. Morgan said he knew the shots were going to go in, but gave credit to his teammates.

“It helps to have teammates who draw so much attention,” Morgan said. “All I had to do was step up and knock it down.”

Morgan wasn’t alone in knocking down big shots down the stretch. Everett Robinson finished with a game-high 19 points and broke a 32-32 tie early in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Robinson added two layups to help push the Tigers to the double-digit win in a packed Fruita Monument gym.

“It is always a battle here,” Johnson said. “I told (Fruita Monument) Coach (Dave) Fox that we take a lot of pride in beating Fruita because we feel like they are one of the best-coached teams year in and year out.”

The Wildcats were led by Alex Mende, who had eight points in a balanced attack — eight Fruita players scored.

Geoff Baldwin scored nine points for Grand Junction.

Despite running out of gas in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats gave Grand Junction all it could handle through three quarters.

“I think we learned to play with emotion,” senior guard Brett Nankervis said. “We have been talking about it all year but never really had it, and I think this brought it out.”


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