KOUTS | For the first time in program history, Morgan Township has won three consecutive sectional titles.
The Cherokees rallied in the fourth quarter Saturday night to beat Washington Township, 32-29, for the Class A Kouts Sectional championship.
Trina Coleman led Morgan Twp. with 12 points and Brianna Leuck added 11.
With the score close late, Washington Township made it clear the Cherokees (15-6) would have to win the game at the free-throw line, fouling repeatedly on in-bounds plays until Morgan Township reached the bonus.
With the title at stake, Coleman went 7-for-8 from the stripe in the final minute-plus to seal the win.
“I knew we’d play with poise in the last four or five minutes,” Morgan Twp. coach Kevin Krieger said. “We had three seniors make huge plays in the fourth quarter: Hannah Murphy had a basket, Brianna Leuck hit a couple shots and then Trina hitting the free throws.
"They came through again.”
Heather Burton pulled the Senators (15-6) within three points twice in the final 30 seconds. Her 3-pointer made it 28-25, then a putback made it 30-27. Coleman answered every time, however, and Burton fouled out with just a few seconds remaining.
Burton led all scorers with 13 points in the loss. She was the only Senator in double figures.
Morgan Twp. zoomed out to a 9-3 first-quarter lead, but after nearly eight minutes without a point, the Senators rolled off an 8-0 run in the second period to pull within 12-11 at the half.
The run reached 10-0 in the second half as Washington Twp. took a 13-12 lead on Burton’s jumper, and the Senators led 20-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
Leuck opened the fourth with a 3-pointer for a 22-20 Morgan Twp. lead. Bethany Kingery tied it on a layup, but Coleman and the Cherokees proved too much at the line down the stretch.
“There’s a lot of validation for the hard work we put in year round,” Krieger said. “I’m enjoying watching the girls grow as a team and grow as individuals.
"They came together when we needed it tonight because our backs were against the wall.”
It was Morgan Twp.’s ninth straight win over the Senators, dating back to Washington Twp.’s 54-52 overtime win in February 2010.
Krieger is now 77-76 in his seventh season at Morgan.
The Cherokees advance to the Class A Caston regional and will face Oregon-Davis for the third straight season.