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.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Sidwell Friends School senior Dean Mazlish had the ball in his hands with six and a half seconds left and down two points against defending District of Colombia State Athletic Association champion Woodrow Wilson and shocked the DMV hoops scene when he launched the game-winner over senior Romaro Hutchinson.
“We threw it in down court and they were pressing so there wasn’t enough time to run the play,” Mazlish said, “I came down I saw the clock had like, three seconds and I knew I had to improvise. Went behind my back, saw the guy kinda just, take a step back so I had to pull -up.
The Quakers won their first ever DCSAA title Sunday night over the Tigers, 63-62. Guard Jason Gibson led all scorers with 24 points, and forward Jack Lewis contributed 18 points of his own. Junior wing Dimingus Stevens scored a team-high 21 points and was followed up by senior Boston College-commit Jay Heath and his 17-point performance.
Sidwell was able to grab a eight-point lead early in the second quarter off a Gibson 3-pointer and if Wilson didn’t unleash a 10-0 run, including a breakaway dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers Stevens, the Quakers looked like they were primed to extend their lead to double-figures. Following a pair of free-throws from senior Carlos Dunn to give the Tigers a 27-26 lead with seconds to spare in the first half, Mazlish was able to take back a one-possession lead when he nailed a 3-pointer right before the buzzer sounded off.
Wilson came out in the second half and after initially trading buckets early on, reeled off a 12-3 run that culminated in a 44-35 lead after a pair of Stevens free throws. The Quakers gradually battled back and took the lead late when Gibson went on a personal 13-6 run and took a two-point late within a minute of the game. Heath responded when he got to the lane, drew a foul, and then sunk two free throws to tie the game up. Both programs had a final chance to hit a game-winner but Gibson’s shot was too strong, while Heath’s desperation from beyond half-court fell shot. The pair of missed shots forced an unexpected overtime at 53-all.
One development the crowd and coaches were interested in was the fact that the trio of Carlos Dunn and Mitchell twins (University of Maryland-commits Makhi and Mahkel) fouled out within the closing minutes of regulation.
“Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” Gibson said, “ my seniors came (up) big for me when I fouled out and I can’t ask for a better group of guys.”
During overtime, the Tigers took the first of the extra period off a Stevens layup, but gave up six straight points including a Gibson to Lewis dime for a 3-pointer that gave the Quakers a 59-55 lead midway through overtime. Wilson responded sinking four free throws in their subsequent possessions, but Gibson drew one more foul but then fouled out the next Tigers possession with 39 seconds left. The Tigers were able to get one more stop and looked to cement their win when Dimingus Stevens caught a Heath pass in stride and layed the ball up to make it 62-60. Tigers head coach Angelo Hernandez called a timeout immediately after with just over six seconds left while it looked like Lewis sunk a possible buzzer beater. Although the shot was waived off, Malzin caught the ball out of the timeout and sunk the Tigers on an incredible dagger 3-pointer with the clock hitting zeroes.
“This amazing,” Mazlish said after climbing the ladder to get his piece of basketball net twine, ”This is the best way to get out.”
Washington D.C ~ With just 3.3 seconds left and PVI down 60-58, Trevor Keels and Panthers teammates had all the confidence in the world that they would make the game-winning shot and steal one from St. John’s on Military Road.
“I knew I was going to hit the shot,” Keels said, “I had confidence in it. My team believed in it, I told them the games not over it.”
PVI stole a key WCAC win over St. John’s, 61-60 to extend their conference win streak to 32 wins. Keels finished the contest with 24-points and Dug McDaniel contributed 15-points. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell who scored a game-high 29-points. Ishmael Leggett joined him in double-figures with 14-points.
“They just don’t want to give that up,” PVI head coach Glen Farello said smiling and on the steak, “I thought we fought the whole game and Trevor kinda willed willed that shot in.”
It was a back-and-forth affair between the Cadets and Panthers. The Cadets held the lead for the majority contest, only facing a deficit twice. The game was tied up only three times as well. The largest lead of the night was just nine points after Casey Morsell dished an assist for a John Wilson layup to make it 23-14 early in the second quarter. Despite the adversity throughout the afternoon, the Panthers continued to dig and dig away at leads. Through the patient and poised play of Dug McDaniel, and the constant battering ram forays of Trevor Keels was all the offense PVI needed.
“Just pick up the slack,” McDaniel said on his role, “And just lead the team.”
The Panthers never gave up throughout the afternoon, and when Josiah Freeman implored to Keels to takeover late in the second half, that’s exactly what he did. In fact, he scored 17 of his 24 alone. That’s with Keels being blanketed by Morsell, one of the best on-ball defenders in the DMV. It was also Freeman that initiated the final exciting sequence of the game. The junior guard nailed a pair of free throws to tie it at 58-all after Morsell turned the ball over on the baseline with 29 seconds left. Casey Morsell patiently dribbled the clock down until nearly eight seconds were left on the game clock until he attacked the rim. He easily shed the defense of Trevor Keels off and extended for a left handed layup over the outstretched hands of Josh Oduro.
The late bucket left 3.3 seconds on the clock and enough time for PVI and Trevor Keels to get a potential game-winner off. The Panthers subsequently dropped the pass off the Keels who ran to the right side of the court and put up a near half-court shot that hit nothing but net. Dagger! Effectively ripping the Cadets hearts out and making a meal out of it.
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.”