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Morrison, Dibrell on collision course for title

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Get ready for the showdown.

Dibrell and Morrison have officially sealed up the top two spots in the 7-8 grade boys elementary standings. The Wildcats and Eagles will fight for the regular season championship next week, with their doubleheader set to decide the No. 1 seed after both teams stayed unbeaten Thursday.

On a night where eighth graders were being celebrated at two different gyms, Dibrell and Morrison played different roles. The Wildcats, at home with nine eighth graders being honored, got to celebrate a huge 44-18 win, while the Eagles spoiled Centertown’s eighth-grade night with a 39-3 thumping. With the victories, Dibrell moved to 8-0 and Morrison kept pace at 7-0.

The Wildcats never seemed to break a sweat against Eastside, using a 13-0 run to start the game to gain quick separation. If there was a mission by the second half, it was to make sure every eighth grader got a bucket on their night.

Dibrell made it happen, with Eli Meitling and Sawyer Stanton both getting on the board early in the third quarter after the Wildcats had built a 24-6 lead at the break. Kobe Brand also nailed a late 3-pointer in the period, continuing Dibrell’s onslaught against the Bulldogs.

Chance Whitlock, the towering presence in the middle that Dibrell has been able to build championship aspirations around, watched most of the fourth quarter. Whitlock did his work early, scoring a game-high 11 points while providing his usual back-line defense (he volleyball spiked one shot in the opening minutes to set the tone) and rebounding.

Lee-Allen Esparza, a speedster tasked with orchestrating Dibrell’s offense, got a late layup to wrap up a nine-point night. Syler Simmons, another eighth grader, opened the game with a 3-pointer and hit a free throw in the fourth.

In the middle quarters, Jace Matheney, Evan Tittsworth and Kaden Pendergraph did their best to carry the Wildcat offense. Matheney had five points, while Tittsworth and Pendergraph each had four points.

While it was a celebration of eighth graders for the Wildcats Thursday, it didn’t come on the final home game for the group. Because of the whaky schedule this year, full of postponements, Dibrell will finish the regular season Thursday, Feb. 3 with a doubleheader at home against the Eagles. By then, Morrison will have a chance to tie the Wildcats at 8-0 in the standings.

Morrison made a statement this week, returning after a two-week absence with a pair of impressive victories. The Eagles went on the road to take down Irving College Tuesday, then followed up by completely dominating Centertown Thursday.

The Eagles allowed just one field goal the entire night against Centertown, which Lealon Arnold got to fall in the third quarter. Morrison’s defense was in complete control the whole way, creating havoc and harassing the Warriors at every spot on the floor.

Offensively, Morrison’s attack continues to find crucial variety as the postseason nears. For weeks, the Eagles had to lean on Kristopher Robledo and Isaiah Robledo to get plenty of points, but Braxton Gibbs and Braden Haggins have made it a spread-out attack recently.

Gibbs jumped into the top 10 scorers in the league with his second double-digit performance of the week, scoring 10 points against Centertown. His accuracy from the outside was on display – he drained two 3-pointers early as he piled up all his points before halftime.

Haggins also finished with 10 points, using his quickness to get easy buckets against the Warriors. Kristopher was next with eight points, while Isaiah added five and Luke Saldana chipped in four. Lake Sadlon rounded out the scoring with two points.

Before Morrison can turn its focus on the doubleheader at Dibrell, it will have to get by Eastside Tuesday, Feb. 1. The 3-5 Bulldogs, locked into the No. 4 seed, also play Boyd Monday, Jan. 31.

The Broncos, still in search of their first win as they enter the final week 0-8, will also face Irving College next week. The Tigers, 5-4 this season, have clinched the No. 3 seed and will face Boyd in the opening round of the 7-8 grade postseason tournament, currently set to start next Saturday, Feb. 5 at Charlie Dalton Gym.

Stick with the WCSA website for the latest updates on game results and the final standings in the 7-8 grade elementary league.

Centertown-Morrison photos (Painted Barn Media photos)

CLICK HERE for a full Painted Barn Media photo gallery

Thursday box scores

Morrison 39, Centertown 3

Eagle scoring – Braxton Gibbs 10, Braden Haggins 10, Kristopher Robledo 8, Isaiah Robledo 5, Luke Saldana 4, Lake Sadlon 2

Warrior scoring – Lealon Arnold 3

Dibrell 44, Eastside 18

Wildcat scoring – Chance Whitlock 11, Lee-Allen Esparza 9, Jace Matheney 5, Evan Tittsworth 4, Kaden Pendergraph 4, Syler Simmons 4, Kobe Brand 3, Eli Mietling 2, Sawyer Stanton 2

Bulldog scoring – Malachi Wilcher 8, Lex Winfree 5, Donnivian Johnson 5

Dibrell-Eastside gallery (Jeffery Simmons photos)

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