Warriors fall in final seconds to Morris, 83-82

Courtesy Bolton Photo
Courtesy Bolton Photo

CENTRAL, S.C. – A free throw with 3.8 seconds left lifted Morris College past Southern Wesleyan 83-82 on Saturday in the finale of the FCA Tip-Off Classic at Tysinger Gymnasium.

The lead changed hands several times in the final moments and was back-and-forth for much of the second half. It looked as though the Warriors were going to come back and win after giving up the lead with 29 seconds left.  Morris' Aailayah Hill made a basket with 29 seconds left to put the Hornets on top 82-81 but after a timeout, Chelsie Waters was fouled on the sideline and sent to the line for the double bonus.

Waters made the first but missed the second as Hill pulled down the rebound in an 82-82 game.  An offensive foul gave the ball back to the Warriors but with seven seconds left an offensive foul on SWU gave the Hornets the ball again. With 3.8 seconds left Baylee Hawkins was fouled near midcourt and sent to the line for the double bonus.  Hawkins missed the first but made the second.  The Warriors were unable to get a shot off before time expired.

The game had nine ties and 13 lead changes.  The Warriors jumped out to a 7-2 lead but the Hornets fought back to take the lead at 10-9 and held the lead for the next nine plus minutes until Brooke Strickland made a pair of free throws to break a 28-28 tie. After the Hornets retook the lead the Warriors were able to get back on top before halftime and held a 40-37 advantage at the break.

SWU shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half and made 14-of-20 free throw attempts but 22 turnovers helped to slow their momentum.  Morris shot just 35.6 percent from the floor in the first half but 13 offensive rebounds helped to keep them close.

In the second half, the Warriors heated up from the outside as they connected on 4-of-8 from outside the arc including two of Strickland's four three-point makes.  Strickland finished with 22 points off the bench.  She added four rebounds and six steals as Morris committed 30 turnovers in the game.  The Warriors gave it away 35 times.

Bri Seda led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting.  The senior also made 8-of-13 from the free throw line.  Christiana Perkins notched a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.  Perkins had five offensive boards and also added eight steals and five assists.  Chelsie Waters led the team with seven assists.

The Warriros scored 36 points off the bench compared to just 16 for the Hornets.  Morris had all five starters in double figures led by Tomeka Harris' 20 points.  The Hornets used their 23 offensive rebounds to score 23 second chance points.  The Warriors had just eight second chance points.

After the game six players were selected to the All-Classic team: Skye Rogers – Emmanuel, Elise Coberly – Emmanuel, Baylee Hawkins – Morris, Tiara Howard – Morris, Rebekah Hairston – Columbia International, and Bri Seda – Southern Wesleyan.

The Warriors are back in action on Wednesday in the Conference Carolinas opener at Lees-McRae. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m.

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