NEW MADISON – It was a big night for the Lady Patriots basketball team and even a bigger night for one player. Tri-Village would defeat Sidney 59-31 and Morgan Hunt would collect her 1,000th career point along the way.
In their quest to prepare for a long post season run TV hosted Division 1 Sidney who came in with a 9-2 record looking for a stiff test that really didn’t materialize.
Tri-Village behind the hot-hand of Rylee Sagester from the outside scored 8 points, Morgan Hunt and Tori Richards each had 6 points in the opening quarter to jump out in front of Sidney 22-8.
Sagester added 7 more points, 15 total in the first half to give the PATS a 20-point lead 35-15.
As good as the offense was playing, the defense was even more impressive.
Tori Richards assigned to guard Sidney’s leading scorer Allie Stockton who came in averaging 16 points a game was frustrated by the on-ball defense of Richards in the first half.
“I thought the job Tori did on Stockton was outstanding, she only had 2 points going into the 4th quarter,” Gray praised.
Likewise, Meghan Downing patrolled the paint by swatting anything that got inside the lane to the tune of 9 blocks and while grabbing 13 rebounds, 9 on the defensive end.
The scoring pace slowed in the 3rd quarter as Jr. Forward Morgan Hunt was closing in on an historic mark. Coming into the game she needed 11 points to reach 1000 and had 8 in the first half.
Morgan added a free throw early in the 3rd quarter, then midway in the period she caught the ball in the middle of the paint, pivoted to her right and was met by a double team with hands all over her was able to fight through dropping a short left-hand baby hook for her 10th and 11th point to reach the magic number.
After a short team celebration and ball presentation from coach Brad Gray, Hunt trotted over to her mom Kimberly giving her the ball and a hug. She was then swallowed up by a big bear hug from her dad Ryan cementing the moment.
Hunt joined fellow junior guard Rylee Sagester just games apart in reaching 1,000 points. It’s not often you have a 1000-point scorer in your junior year, let alone 2 on the same team.
The Patriots only scored 8 points in the 3rd quarter but still led 43-18 by playing stingy defense.
Now with the pressure off the Patriots played a bit looser in the final stanza extending their lead to 30 points but then relinquished some court time to the JV’s later in the frame.
The Yellow Jackets cut into the lead as the game wound down for a final score 59-31 for an impressive Tri-Village win to improve to 9-2.
Sagester led all scorers in the game with 21 points that included 5 triples prompting coach Brad Gray’s response.
“She was feeling it, when she pulls up just inside the volleyball line in transition you know she’s feeling pretty good. She was able to hit a couple early to get herself going and we really like it when she sees it go through the net early because when she does, it usually becomes a headache for the other team as the night goes on,” Gray complimented.
Morgan Hunt had 15 points and 10 rebounds including 1000 points, something coach Brad Gray was pleased to see her achieve.
“I’m so glad that she was able to accomplish it and get this behind her. Sometimes when kids know they’re getting close they tend to push a little bit and now that it’s behind both her and Rylee, they can now just concentrate on playing basketball and doing the things they need to do to help this team be successful.”
“But Morgan is much more than a scorer, she’s a warrior man, and what she provides with her floor game is so valuable. She’s a kid we can put the ball in her hands to help bring it up the floor, she’s a great passer, defensively she does an excellent job and is a great rebounder. She is just a complete player who gets labeled as a scorer, but she is so much more than that,” Gray commended.
Junior Tori Richards also scored 14 points giving the Patriots another threat offensively to go along with her defense.
Meghan Downing had 4 points, Delanee Gray 3 and Molly Scantland 2.
“I thought our kids, to their credit came out from the start of the game locked in on what we were doing offensively and on defense they played tremendous too,” Gray concluded.
But the highlight of the night still belonged to Morgan Hunt who was very humble when we spoke about her accomplishment.
“Yeah, it’s amazing for how much I can get accomplished with my teammates, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them. They always push me to be my best and our chemistry is good. We always find people in the right spot, and we always make that extra pass.
I couldn’t have done this without them or my family or our community, they always are supporting us, even if we’re doing bad, they’re still there for us,” Hunt stated.
Hunt has a basketball pedigree with her dad Ryan Hunt averaging 20 points a game his senior year at Tri-Village playing on a team that won over 20 games and went to District finals. Her mom Kimberly Hunt played basketball at Greenville, so Morgan has plenty of support at home.
“I heard my dad was pretty good … but he’s always said I’m a little bit better and he always pushes me to do my best and work hard, even if I’m struggling not to give up but just keep plugging away and eventually thing will go our way,” Hunt said.
Anyone who watches Morgan play can attest that she has followed her dad’s advice well as her motor never stops and rarely does she get outworked in a game.
“What impresses me the most about Morgan is that she isn’t consumed by scoring points, rebounds, assist … she plays to win and does whatever the moment calls for to put her team in a winning position, that’s why her motor never quits, that’s what inspires her game,” Ryan Hunt mused.
Morgan also touched on her mom as well.
“My mom played the game with a lot of passion and is such a big supporter ,” Hunt added.
When asked how she felt when she got to deliver the ball to her mom and hug her parents she smiled and spoke, it just made me feel proud and happy to see their faces and made me so happy and I know they were happy for me as well.
Hunt currently holds an offer from Northern Kentucky University to play at the next level, but she isn’t ready to bolt off to college just yet, nor is her teammate Rylee Sagester who has verballed to Marshall University.
We still have things we want to accomplish since we started playing together in the fourth grade all we wanted to do was play as much as we could and to win. We’ve grown so close not only on the floor but off and that’s amazing. We would like to add some additional accomplishments one where our entire team celebrates together,” Hunt concluded.
One that ends at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.