LATTA — Latta girls coach David Tinkler calls Casey Morgan “my churchmouse”, ostensibly because she quietly goes about her job as one of the area’s most underrated players.

Morgan, who became a starter when Charissa Smith suffered a back injury early in the season, was quiet for the first three quarters of Saturday afternoon’s game with Lone Grove at the Bill Johnson Fieldhouse, but she made a lot of noise late in the fourth quarter and overtime to help the Lady Panthers to a tense 47-43 victory.

In the boys game, Latta got 24 points from Kolbie Brown and 18 from Isaac Vandever and rebounded from a dismal showing in a 71-50 loss at Dale Friday night with a 66-44 victory over a Lone Grove team that fell to 0-15 on the season.


Latta 47, Lone Grove 43 (OT)

Lone Grove’s Courtney Tolar broke a 42-all tie when she hit one of two free throws with 26 seconds left in the extra period, then Latta star Chelsey Bennett — who had eight points for the Lady Panthers in the win — missed on an attempt at the go-ahead bucket. But Morgan came out of a logjam under the basket with the rebound and fed the ball to Beth Nevland, who drained a 12-foot baseline jumper (her only basket of the game) to put Latta up, 44-43, with just 10 seconds left.

The Lady Panthers got a turnover when Tolar couldn’t inbound the ball, and, after Latta freshman Skyler Jenson was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass and hit one of two free throws to make it 45-43, Lone Grove called time out with five seconds left to discuss strategy for a potential game-tying basket.

Morgan spoiled the upset bid, however, when she intercepted the inbounds pass at midcourt. She was fouled on a drive to the basket and hit both free throws with 2.4 seconds left to finally seal the victory.

After trailing 28-20 entering the fourth quarter, Latta (12-7) scored the first four baskets in the final period to tie the game on Keisha Williams’ layup with 5:40 to play. The basket was the second in the Latta run by Williams, who earlier drained a short jumper after Morgan grabbed an offensive rebound and fed her the ball.

After Latta’s game-tying spurt, Lone Grove (6-10) got a layup from 6-2 center Shawna Patton and a 3-pointer from Courtney Mims to go back on top by five with 3:15 remaining, but the Lady Panthers answered with a 6-0 run of their own and took their first lead of the period at 36-35 on a driving layup by Morgan — off a nice bounce pass from Tosha MacCollister — with 1:20 left. Jenson, who scored a game-high 19 points less than 24 hours after she had a season-low five points in Friday night’s 38-34 loss at Dale, started the run with four straight free throws.

Lone Grove tied the score on a Mims free throw with 1:05 left, then, after Morgan was fouled by Patton (her fifth of the game) and sank two free throws to put the Lady Panthers back up 38-36 with 31.4 seconds remaining, Mims sank two free throws 11 seconds later to send the game to overtime.

The Lady Horns scored four of the first five points in overtime and took a 42-39 lead on Keelan Barton’s jumper with 2:45 left, but Bennett drained a 15-foot baseline jumper of her own to cut the lead to one, and Latta tied it at 42-all when Nevland made the second of two free throws after she was fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound with 39.4 seconds to play.

Jenson scored 10 of her 19 points in the first two periods to help Latta to a 17-13 halftime lead, and she had eight more in the fourth quarter and overtime to finish in double figures for the 15th time in 19 games this season. She also led the Lady Panthers with seven rebounds.

Bennett had two rebounds, two steals and three assists to go with her eight points (only the fourth time this season she hadn’t scored in double figures), and Morgan — who didn’t take a shot in the first three quarters after picking up two early fouls — had six points, two big assists and two key rebounds, all in the fourth quarter and overtime.

MacCollister scored just four points but had a solid all-around floor game with three steals, two rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot, and Nevland had five rebounds and two steals to go with her three points (all in overtime). Williams came off the bench to ignite Latta’s game-tying run early in the fourth quarter and also had two rebounds and a steal.

Patton dominated the boards early and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, but Jenson limited her to four field goals (two of them 3-pointers) in 12 tries. Mims (12 points) was the only other Lone Grove player in double figures.


Latta 66, Lone Grove 44

Latta committed 20 turnovers and was outrebounded, 26-24, but Brown was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, and Vandever had one of his best all-around games of the season with 18 points, seven rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocked shots.

“Kolbie and Isaac played like seniors,” Latta coach Donnie Husband said after seeing his club improve to 12-7 on the season. “We needed some leadership, and they stepped up.

“We needed to do something to make us feel better than we did (Friday) night,” he added. “The kids just felt like they needed to compete harder than they did against Dale.”

The Panthers played without starting guard Trevan Jimboy, who didn’t suit up for disciplinary reasons, but they grabbed an 18-7 lead after one quarter and were never seriously threatened in the second half. Lone Grove cut a 51-30 Latta lead with 5:47 to play to 12 at 56-44 on a layup by Caleb Chaffin with 1:50 to play, but the Panthers ended the game on a 10-0 run that featured four points each from Brown and Vandever.

Jay Husband was also in double figures with 11 points (including 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range) and added four rebounds and four assists, and sophomore point guard Dalton Brown scored seven first-quarter points and also had three steals before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Jeremi Correll hit his only shot of the game and added five rebounds, two assists and a steal in the win.

Latta, which had a 10-day break before traveling to Dale, returns to action Friday, hosting Konawa.