Morse sparks Albemarle boys past Orange

Albemarle boys basketball’s Josh Morse set the tone from the tip, scoring all 11 of his team’s first quarter points en route to a 23-point outing Saturday afternoon that vaulted the Patriots to a 60-42 win over Orange County.  


Orange County head coach Adam Utz implored his team to box Albemarle’s star big man out, but there was little the Hornets could do against the Roanoke College commit. On the other end, the Albemarle defense forced Sihle Mthethwa into tough shots all game, similar to the way Charlottesville handled the area’s top scorer last night.


The difference today was Orange’s own defense held Morse scoreless in the second quarter, and only trailed 21-15 at halftime after Destin Bray nailed a three at the buzzer.


“I was frustrated with our execution offensively in the first half.” Albemarle head coach Greg Maynard said. “We had eight turnovers, and just throwing the ball nowhere close to anybody sometimes, and then we weren’t finishing strong inside.”


Morse picked up in the 3rd where he left off in the 1st, scoring on numerous putbacks and dishing out three assists. The Patriots started attacking the gaps in the Hornet zone that caused problems for them in the first half, which led to easy buckets for Morse. Will Hornsby canned a three halfway through the 3rd to put Albemarle up 44-26, prompting Utz to call timeout. But the damage was done and the Patriots never looked back.


“He works so hard at his game. Even during the isolation time and stuff, he’s doing it by himself. The guys work really hard to get it to him.” Maynard said of his senior forward.


Mthethwa scored 11 in the 3rd, including some ridiculously deep threes, but the Hornets couldn’t keep up with Albemarle’s execution. Christian Humes, who has really emerged as a force off the bench for Albemarle, dished out five assists. Chris Woods finished with seven assists himself to go with five rebounds as part of an extremely well-rounded Albemarle offense.


Saturday’s game caps off a rough week for Orange County in which they had four games and entered at 1-1. The Hornets are now 2-4 after losses to Western Albemarle, Charlottesville, and the Patriots. They head over to Albemarle Tuesday night to try and regroup.


Mthethwa finished with 18 for Orange. Destin Bray added eight.


Albemarle hosts Fluvanna Monday and then travels to Charlottesville next Friday in addition to their rematch with Orange in big week for the Patriots after moving to 3-1. Morse finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds for a monster double double. Will Hornsby added 10 and Jackson Rose notched seven with five rebounds.