Spalding title has Shelby flavor

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Morris enjoys record run

By Todd Martin

Former SCHS guard Allison Morris said she didn’t expect much from her freshman season at Spalding University.

“We only had five returning players, and the rest were freshman, and we had two junior transfers,” she said. “I didn’t even really expect us to have a winning season.”

After the team started 0-3, Morris’ projections seemed accurate.

But then a funny thing happened. The girls won six in a row, and the season started to look better.

“We just picked it up,” she said. “I think we just had to get all the new people together and on the same page. Spalding’s never really been a powerhouse, and I think the seniors were tired of losing. Once we got together, we just clicked.”

After a 58-57 home loss to Alice Lloyd College on Jan. 17, the Golden Eagles finished off the regular season with eight consecutive victories and climbed to No. 2 in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. The girls also qualified for the USCAA National Championship Tournament, where they swept through three games in three days for the school’s first title.

“It was crazy,” Morris said. “We also set the school record for most consecutive wins [11] and most wins in a season [20]. We didn’t expect it all, we just got better and better as the season went on.”

For the season, Morris played a pretty big role as a freshman. She played in 19 of the team’s 26 games, averaging 2.1 points and one rebound.

“I didn’t play, maybe, as much as I wanted, but I was really happy that I got to play in all three games in the national tournament,” she said. “As a freshman, my roll wasn’t so much in games but to challenge the seniors and older players in practice and keep it competitive. I understood that I had to start at the bottom and work my way up. It was a lot of fun.”

Morris has her National Championship ring, but she’s not sticking around for a repeat. Instead, she’s transferring to the University of Louisville and giving up basketball.

“I want to concentrate on my future and my career,” she said. “I’m going to miss it, though. It was a big decision to stop playing, but I’ll still play in as many pick-up games as I can.”

Morris is majoring in biology with the plan of entering U of L’s Dental School.

And when she said she was ready to focus on her career, she wasn’t kidding.

This summer she is enrolled in a modified dental program at U of L. She lives on campus and gets a jump start into what the world of dentistry and dental school will look like.

“It also guarantees me an interview with the dental school when I apply,” she said.

Though she is changing her focus, Morris said she knows she made the right decision, and she’ll definitely have something to remember.

“I got one trip, and I’m going out on top,” she said.