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Division I: Morse rolls to championship

03/07/2014, 11:22pm PST
By John Maffei

Upset specials become business as usual for 12th-seeded Tigers

Morse's Kenny McDonald (shown in a game earlier in the playoffs) scored 21 points in the Tigers' championship win over San Marcos on Friday.

Playing a higher seed for the fourth straight game, 12th-seeded Morse did the improbable, rallying from seven points down early in the fourth quarter to beat third-seeded San Marcos 63-57 and claim the San Diego Section Division I boys basketball championship Friday at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Morse, which has played all its playoff games in its road blues, last won a boys championship in 1987, and coach Bobby Sumler played on Morse’s ’83 title team.

Kenny McDonald and Jah’mere Mitchell led Morse’s fourth-quarter comeback with McDonald scoring seven and Mitchell 12 in the final eight minutes.

“This is unbelievable, especially at my alma mater,” said Sumler. “I won a CIF as a player in ’83 and now as a coach.

“We played a tough schedule all year, and it really paid off.

“We didn’t think we should have been a 12 seed. We challenged the kids because they were really disappointed in being a 12.”

The ’83 Morse team was a 16 seed after forfeiting a number of games and getting into the playoffs as the last seed.

Morse’s 6-foot-9 freshman Brandon McCoy made five fourth-quarter free throws to help the cause and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

With under two minutes to play, guard Dante Foster grabbed three of his six rebounds to help the Tigers run off nearly 40 seconds.

Mitchell finished with 16 and McDonald 21.

Justin Davis scored 12 points and led all rebounders with 17.

“This doesn’t feel real,” McDonald said. “We were underdogs from the beginning. They must not have thought we were any good.

“We used 12 as a motivation. Monday will be the best day of school ever.”

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