An experienced senior class deserves credit for the breakout season that the Cox Mill boys’ basketball team is having early this season. But a versatile sophomore guard is also emerging as a key figure.Matt Morgan, playing his first varsity season, is either at or near the top of some the Chargers’ offensive statistical categories. Cox Mill gets a balanced effort from a handful of players and Morgan is right in the mix. With six wins in its first seven games, Cox Mill is off to its best start in its four-year history. By averaging 10.3 points per game, Morgan is the only Charger scoring in double figures.Though he is also a long-range threat, Morgan is making 56 percent of his two-point field goal attempts. He’s also shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line. “Things are going pretty well,” said Morgan. “My teammates are giving me (the) ball in right spots and I’m knocking down some shots. And we’re playing really hard as a team.”Coming off a year on junior varsity, in which the Chargers’ farm team posted a 19-2 record and won the South Piedmont Conference, Morgan won a starting position on the varsity squad during the preseason. He says he was a little nervous about his first varsity game, against perennial 4A power North Mecklenburg, but it barely showed.Cox Mill captured a 53-49 win on the road on Nov. 20; coach Brad Hinson called it possibly the biggest win in team history. Morgan scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. “It gave me a big confidence boost,” Morgan said. “It showed me I could play with these guys and that I belong there. I try to keep playing hard and encouraging my teammates, and hopefully we can get some more wins as we go.”Morgan is among a trio of guards who are part of Cox Mill’s backcourt rotation. He joins the Peace twins, Jordan and Justin, who are seniors that have been with the program since their freshman season. Sean Sims and Terence Hardy also have been with the program for four years.Morgan and Jordan Peace are in the starting lineup and Justin Peace comes off the bench. All of them are interchangeable between the point guard and shooting guard positions, and they often communicate with each other to determine who will handle which position on the court.After an early December slump, Morgan had a team-high 12 points in a win over East Rowan on Dec. 11 and scored 12 points as Cox Mill beat West Stanly on Dec. 7. Those games helped him break a two-game streak in which he scored five points each against Carson and Weddington, Cox Mill’s only loss through Dec. 17.Hinson realized this summer what a scoring threat Morgan could be. In a jamboree at East Lincoln, Morgan scored 25 and 27 points in back-to-back games.“He’s really comfortable with the ball and without the ball,” said Hinson. “He plays some at point and at shooting guard. He’s probably the best overall shooter on the team, from 3-point range and mid-range jump shots. He picks things up really quickly.”That could be attributed to his upbringing. His father, Lamont Morgan, lettered at Georgetown from 1991-94.“I’m blessed to have a dad that played at a high level,” said Matt Morgan. “He teaches me things, really about the mental aspect as far as playing varsity and how to handle tough situations and the crowd.”Hinson said his players are concentrating on the season being broken down into three parts: non-conference games, conference games and the post-season. If Morgan plays as well in the latter two parts the way he has during the first act, he will be scoring a different kind of trifecta.Cox Mill will host the annual CMC NorthEast Holiday Classic basketball tournament on Dec. 28-30. Boys teams participating are Cox Mill, A.L. Brown, Central Cabarrus, Mount Pleasant, Independence, Parkwood, Weddington and Sun Valley.The girls bracket is made up of Cox Mill, A.L. Brown, Central Cabarrus, Mount Pleasant, Concord, Parkwood, Weddington and Butler.
Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012
Sophomore emerges in strong basketball season for Cox Mill Chargers
Matt Morgan may be only a sophomore, but the Cox Mill guard has been a strong scorer through seven games.