E.A. Sports Today

Dynamic duo

Girls roundup: Ohatchee wins Heflin title; Anniston, Cleburne win close games

Morgan Lee (10) and Joria Steger give Ohatchee one of the most dynamic outside-inside combinations in the county. They combined for 41 points Wednesday in the Cleburne County Holiday Invitational girls title game.

Morgan Lee (10) and Joria Steger give Ohatchee one of the most dynamic outside-inside combinations in the county. They combined for 41 points Wednesday in the Cleburne County Holiday Invitational girls title game.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN – Perhaps it was a good thing they don’t award a Most Valuable Player trophy.

It simply would be too hard to decide which of Ohatchee’s dynamic duo, Morgan Lee or Joria Steger, should receive it after the Indians took down Pleasant Valley 62-46 Wednesday to win the Cleburne County Holiday Invitational girls title. And if they share it, quite frankly, how do you display half a trophy on the mantle?

Because when it comes right down to it they really are one entity in the Indians’ lineup.

Is it Morgia or Jorigan?

“Absolutely they’re inseparable,” Ohatchee coach Bryant Ginn said. “It seems like with those two in all the other girls have so much more confidence in what they’re doing because they know if they get in trouble they’ve got somebody they can get the ball to.

“When one of them has to come out it’s tough, but luckily we haven’t had to do that very much this year. I don’t know how I’d guard us, to be honest with you. I’d be scratching my head.”

Not many teams have been able to find a successful formula for defending the duo. In the few games the Indians have lost this year, it has been more a case of what they’ve done to undermine themselves than any special plan to take out Steger and Lee.

The Raiders (9-9) did a nice job bottling up Steger on the baseline early in the game, but it wasn’t long before she was crashing the boards and creating put-back opportunities she easily deposited into the bottom of the net. And until that happened Lee was regularly knocking down 3s to stretch the lead.

Lee scored 21 points, hitting four of the five 3-pointers she took in the first half. Steger, meanwhile, put up 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. Together, they are averaging 29 points a game this season.

“Apparently it was unstoppable today, to be honest with you,” PV coach Jeremy Wallace said. “We knew going in we had to stop 10 (Lee) from shooting the ball and keep 23 (Steger) off the boards, and we weren’t able to do either one.

“It is one of the toughest pairs (in the county), no doubt about it. They definitely outplayed us today without a doubt.”

The reason it works so well, the players said, is their mutual trust developed from playing together since seventh grade. Lee trusts Steger to be around to clear any rebound so she can shoot with confidence and Steger trusts Lee to stick the shot. Lee is shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc this year; Steve is averaging nine boards a game.

“We have a very strong bond with each other, that’s all I can say; great minds think alike,” Steger said. “We’re really stronger when we’re together. If we’re separate it’s like you’re just missing something.”

Lee scored five straight points to give the Indians the lead for good in the first quarter and the two combined for their last 16 points of the second quarter to make it 33-17 at the break.

Cleburne County 42, Ranburne 41

HEFLIN – Alex Casey’s basket with 3.2 seconds left lifted the host Tigers to victory in the tournament’s consolation game.

Hannah Phillips put Ranburne up 41-38 with 1:04 to play with the last of her game-high 14 points. The Bullodgs missed four free throws over the next 45 seconds that would have extended their lead and it proved costly.

Alisa Norton’s basket with 15 seconds left brought the Tigers within 41-40. She was fouled on the play and missed the and-one, but the Tigers rebounded and immediately called time to set up Casey’s winning basket.

Eryka Ware led the Tigers with 12 points. Norton had nine and Casey finished with eight.

Anniston 31, Parker 30

BIRMINGHAM – The Lady Bulldogs blew a 12-point lead and failed to score in the fourth quarter, but fortunately ran out of time before it ran out of points. Miajah Bullock led Anniston in the Ramsay Christmas Tournament game with a game-high 14 points, while Carsheuna Curry had nine rebounds.


Ohatchee 62, Pleasant Valley 46

PLEASANT VALLEY (9-9) – Kara Perry 1 0-0 2, Tiffany Williams 5 1-2 12, McKinley Parris 2 0-0 5, Atleigh Brannon 4 8-10 16, Bailey Turner 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Lawler 0 0-0 0, Kaitlin Strickland 0 1-2 1, Kendell Johnson 1 1-2 3, Emily Cochran 0 0-0 0, Hailey Taylor 0 0-2 0, Mikala Simpson 2 0-0 4, Bailey Scott 0 3-6 3. Totals 15 14-24 46.

OHATCHEE (13-4) – Kacie Cooper 0 0-0 0, Courtney Poole 0 2-6 2, Hannah Howell 0 1-4 1, Morgan Lee 8 1-2 21, Ally McCoy 1 1-2 4, Peyton Steinburg 1 2-6 5, Makenzie Hanks 0 3-5 3, Madison 1 0-0 2, Joria Steger 9 2-7 20, Faith Walker 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne McCarter 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 12-32 62.

Pleasant Valley 9 8 11 18 — 46
Ohatchee 14 19 13 46 — 62

3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 2 (Williams, Parris); Ohatchee 6 (Lee 4, McCoy, Steinburg). Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 26, Ohatchee 20. Fouled out: Turner, Strickland.

Tuesday Game

Madison County 45, Jacksonville 42

JACKSONVILLE – Sierra Stone 8-13 3-4 19, Dasia Kirksey 2-10 0-0 6, Angel Kidd 2-16 1-6 6, Destiny Easley 2-13 1-2 6, Ataliya Morgan 1-3 0-0 3, Brandi Canady 1-2 0-0 2, Darrien Martin 0-5 0-0 0, Quenteeria Mooney 0-1 0-0 0, Nicole Goodson 0-0 0-0 0, Kyra Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-63 5-12 42

MADISON COUNTY – Madison Baggett 8-13 3-5 23, Taylor Jennings 5-16 0-0 15, Shaynn Nance 2-4 0-2 5, Tatyana Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Jasmine Baker 0-6 0-2 0, KaDaesha Cross 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan Haywood 0-3 0-0 0, Rachel Hooker 0-0 0-0 0, Lindsay Pierce 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-45 3-9 45

Jacksonville 13 9 13 7 — 42
Madison County 16 10 9 10 — 45

3-point goals: Jacksonville 3-24 (Kirksey 0-3, Kidd 1-9, Easley 1-6, Morgan 1-3); Madison County 10-26 (Baggett 4-7, Jennings 5-16, Nance 1-3). Rebounds: Jacksonville 55 (Stone 23, Kirksey 11); Madison County 28 (Baker 8). Total fouls: Jacksonville 13, Madison County 9. Fouled out: Kidd.

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