Fri Hoops: Morris, Herzog in Battle of 06 Recruits

Before a capacity crowd of over 2200, Michigan junior commitment <strong>K&#8217;len Morris</strong> and the Grand Blanc Bobcats (8-0) dealt top 7-0 recruit <strong>Tom Herzog</strong> and Flint Powers (7-1) their first defeat of the season.<br>

Big games in sports conjure many different emotional responses. Nervousness. Excitement. Anticipation. Whether it be coach, player, referee, parent or fan, they all FEEL those things when a huge contest is at hand. This was evident when chatting with K’len Morris prior to the. The Michigan commitment could not wait for the tip, at one point saying, “I am sooo ready for this game tonight!”

K’len’s dad, Brad Morris, shared his son’s enthusiasm. He couldn’t stand still waiting for the game to start. Then again, Mr. Morris is like that before every game! The point is this game was big and the folks in the Flint area knew it.

K'len Morris (left) and Tom Herzog
You could not have asked for a better crowd. The gymnasium was packed full of folks that purchased their tickets during a 4-hour window on Wednesday. Any attempts to do so afterward were all for naught, as every single one was gobbled up on the initial day of sales The intense atmosphere was both loud and exciting…just the way a high school game should be.

Mr. Morris went over the keys for Grand Blanc and mentioned how the squad is really beginning to gel. “With each game the team is getting better and better,” Brad said.

Grand Blanc started things off with a 6-0 run to gain the early advantage, but Powers finally got it going moments later. Buckets by Matt Wittbrodt and Tom Herzog pulled Powers within one (8-7), but the Bobcats padded their lead again with four straight points, including two on a K’len Morris jumper, to go up 12-7 at the end of one.

Morris began the second period with a dunk to extend Grand Blanc’s lead. The home team seemed poised to pull away early but the Chargers got answers from players other than the 747 they have at center.

Herzog patrols the lane
Powers made it a point early to try to get Tom Herzog the ball in the paint, but Grand Blanc would often have someone from the weak side come over when to force him kick it back out. Guards Michael Herman, Matt Wittbrodt, and Lavel Lucas-Perry picked up the scoring slack to help Powers stay close and go into the halftime locker room down 26-23.

Up to that point, there were quite a few fouls called and the kids really couldn’t get into a flow during. In the second half, though, the flow started to get better. The kids were really able to get up and down during the third quarter, and Grand Blanc took advantage. The Chargers went a 9-0 run on buckets by Zach Gibson, K’len Morris, and Desmond Young.

Shortly after that, another turnover caused Powers coach Jack Pratt to call a timeout. Lavel Lucas-Perry responded out of the brief break by outscoring the opposition 5-0 on a deep three-pointer and a driving lay-up. Herzog followed that up with a bucket down low to cut the deficit to five, 35-30. However, the comeback march for the Chargers would end there. The Bobcats answered the Powers surge with an 11-4 run to make the score 46-34 at the end of three.

The fourth quarter saw highs and lows for other teams. There were two plays that really stood out stood out as excellent examples. First, K’len Morris came in on the left baseline and rose up for a huge dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. On a subsequent possession moments later Morris went up again with the idea of throwing one down. This time, however, Tom Herzog was having none of it. H e used his tremendous wing span to send the ball right back where it came from with the rejection.

Zach Gibson (left) and Tom Herzog
Grand Blanc maintained control for most of the stanza, but took a few ill-advised shots along the way that allowed Powers to get back into the game. Ultimately, K‘len Morris again stepped to the fore as the steadying force for his team. He did not shoot well on the night (7/18), but as good players often do, he came through when the game was on the line. The 6-5 combo guard helped handle the ball and settled his team down at very key moments to pull out the 57-49 victory.

On the game he had 16 points and 8 rebounds while teammate Desmond Young went for 16 points and 9 rebounds.

Grand Blanc center Zach Gibson (6-8, 230) was impressive in his match up with Tom Herzog. The Rutgers commitment came out on top in the battle of the big men with 17 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Herzog definitely held his own, though, with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks.

What a game! Rest assured Michigan fans, GBW will be present for the rematch next month. Stay tuned over the next couple of days for comments from K’len, Tommy, and a whole host of others.

Some editorial content was added by Sam Webb.

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