ROCKVILLE – Sophomore guard Ryan Cornish was ice cold all night, but with the score tied at 53-all he streaked into open space and received an outlet pass from senior Djordje Orcev and unfurled a running jump-shot to secure a tight victory and a MPSAA 4A West sectional title.
“I’m not going into a second overtime,” Cornish said defiantly on his game-winner, “I know I had to get that win and I had to make that layup.”
Richard Montgomery High School and Gaithersburg High School needed overtime
before they could determine the winner of the boys 4A West sectional final. The Rockets ended up the winners, 55-53 despite an off night from almost all of their major players. Cornish led all scorers with 20 points, Orcev contributed 11 points, and junior Devin Liyanamana rounded the Rockets out with 10 points. The Trojans were led by sophomore Jao wing Ituka, sophomore Mandela Tark, and sophomore forward Jordan Hawkins, who scored 17 points, 12 points, and 10 points respectively.
“This is what high school basketball is all about,” Head coach David Berslaw said, “ I love that we have this with Gaithersburg, I love how we’re going back and forth. I just love what us and Gaithersburg are creating.”
Gaithersburg was able to play their style of basketball all night, crashing the boards, and imposing their will physically throughout the night. Meanwhile, the Rockets couldn’t finish at the rim, their jump-shots clanked frequently, but their defense was outstanding. The Rockets game-plan of pressing full-court, as well as using a 2-3 zone and double-teaming Ituka And Hawkins whenever they had the ball up top worked to perfection. The aggressive trapping scheme helped the Rockets to force double-digit turnovers, while also forcing the ball out of their star sophomore wings.
The staunch defensive performance also helped on a night when the biggest lead was only a five-point lead by the Trojans. The low scoring affair afforded the Rockets a path to be able to fight back slowly, taking their third lead of the night when Cornish drained a long pull-up for 2, giving RM a 41-40 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Trojans nearly pulled a victory when they took a three-point leAd late in the fourth with a minute to go, but Liyanamana answered the ball scoring on a fast break layup, and then fed Orcev for a game-tying layup off a botched out-of-bounds play.
“ I just had to step up,” Liyanamana said, “ we know not everyone’s going to score 20 points every game. We’re a very balanced team everybody can play their role and know what to do.”
In overtime it was the Cornish show, scoring all six of the Rockets points. Despite being off the mark with his jump-shot all night, it was a pair of free-throws that gave him the confidence to drain that aforementioned buzzer beater.
“Everybody was counting us out at the beginning of the season,” Gill said, ” We got the W and it just feels good.”
Monday night, Williams and Gill fulfilled their promise and led the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win over St. John’s College High School. Williams scored a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, Gill followed up with 19 points and eight rebounds, and junior Myles Stute put up 10 points and eight rebounds. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell(19 points), Darius Maddox(14 points), and Ishmael Leggett(11 points).
” They’ve been dying for this,” Turner said of his championship squad, “This has been all they’ve talked about since the day we lost here last year at the same time. They worked their tails off. We’ve had some ups and downs and when it mattered most, this team bonded at the right time to make it happen for them to stand here tonight as WCAC champions.”
If you followed the WCAC all season, you know that these two programs being in the championship was a shocker. Gonzaga hit bottom when they lost to PVI, 69-44, but ended the conference and regular season winning 14 of their next 15 games. St. John’s themselves had some tough moment collapsing late in games, including losing to PVI and Baltimore Polytechnic in buzzer-beating fashion. They changed things around on an early season 10-game winning streak but they ended up losing four of their final seven regular season games to PVI twice and DeMatha and Gonzaga as well. However, three of the losses came to DeMatha, Gonzaga, and PVI at a combined 14-points, and looked to be playing their best basketball despite the losses.
Gonzaga and St. John’s came out trading buckets from the opening tip, until the Purple Eagles went off on an 11-0 run, with Williams scoring nine of those points, including back to back turn-around jumpers. Gonzaga turned an 18-9 lead into a 13-point lead after a Williams reverse layup gave the Purple Eagles a 28-16 advantage. St. John’s refused to give in and cut the lead to 29-22 after Morsell nailed a 3-pointer, but Stute came back with a tip-in and gave Gonzaga a nine-point lead going into the second half.
The Cadets were able to cut their deficit to seven points once again after going on a 9-2 run at the free-throw during a sloppy third quarter where St. John’s got a 10-2 advantage in team fouls. The Cadets and Gonzaga went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter. The Purple Eagles built a 12-point lead when Stute corralled an offensive rebound and put it back up to make 51-39, Gonzaga. The Cadets responded with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to 55-53 when Leggett knocked a 3-pointer to make the score 51-48 midway through the final frame. Gill came back down after a timeout laying the ball up on end and stripping Casey Morsell and throwing down a dunk in the subsequent possession to make it 55-48. John “Manzie” Wilson then connected with Morsell for a timely 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 30 seconds left in the game, but Williams was able to close the game out at the free-throw line, knocking five down.
“It’s a great moment,” Williams said, ” You know close throughout the game, solidifying the championship win, live for moments like that.”
Darius Maddox told me post game ” odds against us I just knew we were gonna go out there and fight,” with Ish Leggett adding ” It’s that simple.” SJC is coming in primed with confidence and playing some great basketball ahead of tomorrow’s WCAC chip’ game
WASHINGTON D.C. – The WCAC descended once again on American University for their annual playoff to determine their conference champion this past weekend. After a long regular season, the final four teams remaining were DeMatha Catholic High School, Paul VI Catholic High School, Gonzaga College High School, and St. John’s College High School. The winners of these two games will advance to play for the championship on Monday.
The first game went down between number 1 seed of the tournament DeMatha, also the defending WCAC champs, and number 5 seed St. John’s. The Cadets secured the first spot in the WCAC championship game, upsetting the Stags 53-52. Forward Earl Timberlake led all scorers with 19 poins, and guard Justin Moore followed up with 15 points of his own. Guard Casey Morsell led three double-digit performance with 16 points, while Darius Maddox and Ishmael Leggett contributed with 12 points apiece.
“Definitely just coming out with energy, just coming out ready to kill,” Maddox said, “When I’m down then Ish is up, so we always got someone coming. Then when we’re both down then Casey is up so you never knew where it’s coming from.”
From the onset, the Cadets were able to throw the first punch. St. John’s was often the more physical squad, and made sure to force contested rebounds, catches, and shots. According to junior wings Darius Maddox and Ishmael Leggett, the Cadets took pride in being the underdog and coming out to fight, not just taking a punch to the mouth but landing frequent counters as well. The game was close throughout the contest, the largest lead of the night was the Stags by six, while the Cadets lead by a 4-point margin. The Cadets were able to grab the lead three times in the fourth quarter, after a Morsell layup to make it 41-40, and then off a forward Jalin Abbott 3-pointer off a Morsell pass in the pick-and-roll. The Stags responded swifty and took the lead off a Timberlake tip-in. The Cadets then reeled off a 7-0 run and grabbed a 51-47 lead they would not surrender when Maddox converted on an and-1 over center Hunter Dickinson. Timberlake cut the lead too 53-52 with a 3-pointer at the top of the key, responding to a Morsell pull-up jumper from the free throw line. SJC had two chances to ice the game with less 30 seconds remaining with both Morsell and Abbott at the free throw line but both the seniors missed the front end of a one-in-one opportunity. DeMatha had one last chance to win the game, getting the ball to Moore who drove strong to the rim but Morsell leaped high in the air and swatted the would-be attempt way, sending Bender Arena in a frenzy and making sure a new champ would be crowned.
“We knew (Moore) was going to it,” Morsell said, “ We tried to make it as hard for him as possible, if he was going to shoot it, make him shoot going left. He’s shooting a way lower percentage going left than right. Forced him to my help side, I knew he was not going to pass it so that is why I went up to get it.”
“Just a (wave) of happiness,” Leggett said, ” We been struggling throughout the season and all that hard work paid off that nobody saw it showed on the court today.”
Get To Know Josh Morgan-Green and his growing training business! Triple Threat Training is the premiere training service that has clients walk through its facility like Chris Lykes, DJ Harvey, Luke Garza, Nia Clouden, and Liz Martino
Joshua Morgan-Green was an active, athletic kid who excelled at basketball from the time he was six. He received well-deserved basketball honors from local publications throughout his career. Fast forward to now and meet the businessman who founded an innovative basketball training and multimedia company housed in a facility that doubles as a learning center. He’s trained hundreds of kids all while caring for his growing family and fiancé at home.
“Working hard is the only thing I got to survive right now man,” Morgan-Green stressed. “People are depending on me to get it right.”
His mother, Sheri Morgan-Johnson, defined those early years as stressful, to say the least. She recalls taking Joshua on a trip to Atlanta to help a friend that was in search of models for a children’s calendar for her company. He talked so much they were ready to put the family back on the plane.
“I told his pediatrician, ‘Okay either you’re going to have to medicate him or you’re going to have to medicate me, one of us is not going to make it.” Morgan-Johnson reminisced. “I didn’t really mean that I was just trying to express to her that I was tired. I was glad I didn’t have a pediatrician who would try to settle him down.”
After this appointment, Morgan-Johnson accepted Josh’s overwhelming energy as part of their life. She sought out other ways for her son to use that active energy; signing him up for soccer, basketball, even tapping into his future businessman by being a part of a children’s investment fund that owns stock in Mcdonalds.
“If I had really crushed that energy and said I need you to sit in a chair, I need you to focus, you know, things may have turned out a little bit differently,” Morgan-Johnson added.
Morgan-Green would go on to invest the majority of that energy into a basketball career. A 5’10” point guard, he led his high school team in scoring for three years. He averaged 26 points a game as a junior, earning Honorable Mention honors in the Washington Post, First-Team All-Baltimore Sun, First-Team All-Arundel County, and runner-up for Player Of the Year for Anne Arundel County. He finished his junior year with an MIAA B Conference championship over then-defending champs Mount Carmel.
It seemed his senior year would go down in the record books, averaging 34 points a game before he broke his left wrist in a Christmas tournament game. He came down hard after throwing down a dunk and a trailing defender accidentally took his legs out. The rest of that game he was in pain, but he played through to the final buzzer. His final high school shot would be an overtime game-winner.
“When I got on the bus it just like swelled up, and I felt like I was having an anxiety attack,” Morgan-Green said. “They had to take me to the emergency room and they had to give me all of these meds and they told me my wrist was broken.”
His mother scheduled his surgery with the top hand-specialist. Morgan-Green received surgery requiring three screws to repair his left wrist. Full recovery was six to seven months, effectively ending his high school career and Division I recruitment.
The injury wouldn’t derail his goal of gaining a college degree. He even signed to play Division II basketball for Southern New Hampshire University and legendary head coach Stan Spirou.
“He was great. I mean he was a hard coach. He’d motherf**k you to death,” Morgan-Green said. “I just wasn’t prepared for that. I thought ‘This dude doesn’t like me why does he have me up here’. But, as I grew as a person, I started to realize that’s just his teaching style, it’s not personal.”
He followed his high school success with over 100 games at the collegiate level, but the real championship he wanted was in the classroom. Morgan-Green graduated in 2012 with an Information Technology Systems degree with a minor in Accounting. His first job was at Accenture as a software engineer, but he felt a void in his life. Basketball was his passion and first love, and he missed it. That’s when he decided to link up with Coach Cedric Holbrook and future St. Mary’s Ryken men’s head basketball coach Keith Booth in 2012. It was there that Morgan-Green met a promising sophomore guard in Jared Grey. A key piece for the Bowie High School basketball program and certainly a solid talent in Prince George’s County, Morgan-Green saw a lot of himself in Gray. He schooled the younger ballers. Eventually, Gray asked his young coach to share his secrets.
The mentor and mentee would sneak into Sport Fit Bowie and workout. Gray’s incremental improvements left an impression on his Bowie teammates. Gray’s little brother, Mike, Jalen Robinson, a current sophomore guard at Morgan State, and Quinton Drayton, a redshirt freshman who plays for Towson University, soon joined the workout sessions.
“Josh has been nothing but a big brother to me,” Jared Gray said. “He’s One of the main reasons why I had such a drastic improvement in my game in high school and on to college, constantly helping me out in the gym and in life period.”
Morgan-Green started JMG Training in 2014, making the first step in branching out on his own in the training business. Jared Gray recommended another young player, Johnathan McGriff, for Morgan-Green to workout. McGriff was a hyped-up point guard and incoming freshman playing for Bishop McNamara. The scouting report on the diminutive guard was that he had exceptional handles, but his jump-shot wouldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Morgan-Green and McGriff spent every day in the lab honing that jump shot. Hard work paid off when McGriff attended the CP3 Rising Star camp and stunned everyone. He went 10/16 from beyond the arc against Cole Anthony, the son of UNLV legend Greg Anthony.
After the camp, Morgan-Green picked up another client, Sheriff Kenny from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the number one player in the 2019 class at the time. When Morgan-Green returned to Maryland, he started working out McGriff and Kenney together and put together a workout tape that ended up going viral.
Video courtesy of Josh Morgan-Green’s YouTube
“That’s the first time I ever did like a little highlight tape for training,” Morgan-Green said, “Put it on Youtube, and it was like it blew up in a matter of days.”
Morgan-Green was able to get a consistent spot for JMG Training at Get Good Training Facility. He was also able to get McDonald’s All American and University of Maryland signee Jalen Smith on board to train as well. After posting another popular video sponsored by DMV Elite, Morgan-Green decided to take another big step. He knew that he wanted to create an innovative multi-million-dollar company and drew inspiration from Chris Brickley; a former Southern New Hampshire University player. Brickley was proof of the path out there for former college hoopers turned to overachieving trainers.
“You had these D2 guys that were now training D1 athletes, pro athletes. Morgan-Green said. “I’m like man, I know I can do it, it was just motivation for me.”
The strides that Jalen Smith made since working out with newly named Triple Threat Training, caught a windfall of recognition. Other marquee guys like Darryl Morsell, Ryan Allen, DJ Harvey, Chris Lykes, Aaron Thompson, and Daquan Bracey joined Smith and started coming up to train; denouncing their shoe-sponsored AAU teams they could train with for free. Triple Threat gave these guys a new environment to compete in. After the Title IX D.C. Classic in December 2016, Triple Threat posted a workout session mixtape in 2017 that went viral featuring future Division I hoopers Nia Clouden, Lindsey Pulliam, Mykea Gray, Octavia Wilson, Aisha Shephard, and Liz Martino. With that tape out, more young women like Kalia Charles and Raven James from the University of Maryland and Villanova helped start the girl’s program respectively. Morgan-Green was on the right track with his methods.
“It’s gotten so intense where it’s like you would think there would be a lot more fights cause you got big-name guys,” Morgan-Green said. “It’s just so fun to watch. And I got a film of this like I still can go back and look at those tapes.”
After the Get Good Facility closed in February 2017, Triple Threat faced its biggest test. They transitioned to holding sessions in Bowie City Gym. Morgan-Green also had to navigate around parents who couldn’t afford or simply refused to pay the workout fee.
“It sucked because now you start realizing the economics of everything. Because parents don’t want to pay for training.” Morgan-Green said. “They believe that their kid is the best in the world so they don’t believe that they should be paying for training. I don’t believe I should be working for free.”
To top it off, he lost a government IT job when his contract wasn’t renewed, losing benefits sorely needed for his young son and a second child on the way. Just eight days later, his daughter Nova was born on April 10th. With his son, Lil Josh and newly born Nova on his mind, that very next day, Morgan-Green decided to gamble once again on himself and find a permanent facility. Merritt Properties saw the vision for Triple Threat and decided to invest. On May 8th, 2017, the current facility was opened.
“Not many companies were willing to take a chance but Merrett did,” Morgan-Johnson said. “They have really stood by this company, Triple Threat Training and supported me in my venture.”
Now in 2018, Triple Threat is a thriving business. The entire Morgan family is heavily involved with day-to-day operations and allow Josh to focus on recruiting, marketing, and posting quality content. The company means so many things. It’s a safe space for kids to come in and express themselves. They can look at Morgan-Green as more than just their trainer but a big brother as well. Cultivating a competitive but nurturing environment where kids are being mentored to be more than athletes. It’s about the kids, not the AAU organizations or the coaches. At the end of the day, basketball doesn’t work without the kids.
“You have to be a listener. We always preach that this is more than training, you’re a mentor,” Morgan-Green said, “You just gotta keep instilling these qualities in these kids that it’s more than just basketball.”
Camps, all-star games and media sponsorships are a reality now, creating more exposure for his clients and other kids. The Triple Threat Classic evolved from holding three games to seven. The House of Threat Grind Session camp followed, which is an NBA-style combine for middle and high school boys and girls. The most sentimental event for Morgan-Green is the Audrey Augustus Breast Cancer Game, in honor of Morgan-Green’s aunt who passed away from breast cancer. Proceeds from the game are donated to the Avon Foundation and the game is dedicated to breast cancer survivors or those who passed. He’s even signed media contracts creating and marketing content for kids to get more exposure with St. James Academy, Archbishop Carroll and Bishop Ireton. Triple Threat also hosts the Gonzaga DC Classic. The girl’s program helped birth The Fifteen. Originally a local elite girls camp, it transformed into a national event in the summer of 2018, featuring local talents like Liz Martino, Lyric Swan, and Jakia Brown-Turner and national players like Celeste Taylor, Jordyn Oliver, and Deja Kelly. Jahmir Young, Mekhi Long, and Myles Stute were amongst the group headlining the inaugural boys The Fifteen.
The ultimate goal for the company is to start training professional basketball players. Morgan-Green hopes to maintain these training relationships starting with high school, through college and ultimately into their professional career. Generational wealth is the goal for his family. There’s a certain pride that comes with owning your own business with hopes of passing it on and keeping it in the family. According to Morgan-Green, it’s all for his two kids, and the future generation coming up. Acquiring generational wealth and being able to provide opportunities previously unattainable.
“That’s one of the main reasons it’s even more important because it’s like to be that figure to a little boy and a little girl,” Morgan-Green said. “You know people have done that all throughout time and you see it feeds families.”
“You ask my mom that’s probably the first thing that she says,” Morgan-Green said staring off into the distance, imagining the possibilities, “She loves that word, that’s why she helps.”