Maria Morgan: Shooting For Some Madness
By SCOTT BAKER
Maria Morgan’s dream of playing in the NCAA basketball tournament has become a reality.
Today, the former Bucktail High School standout and her current Saint Vincent College (SVC) teammates will travel to Kentucky to take on the No.1 Division III team in the country, Thomas More University, in the first round of the national tournament.
Morgan and her teammates punched their ticket to the Division III “big dance” by defeating Washington and Jefferson, 70-48, in the championship game of the President’s Athletic Conference (PAC) tournament last weekend. The championship-game victory was the first time that an SVC women’s basketball team has won the PAC and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.The SVC Bearcats last appeared in the NCAA tournament at the end of the 2010 and 2011 seasons when they received at-large bids.
Morgan says that moving on is a big deal for her and the program.
“It is a dream come true,” Morgan said. “Every basketball player’s dream is to cut down a net and go on to play in the NCAA tournament. It is the picture-perfect way to go out my senior year. I have witnessed so many people say ‘we’re going dancing,’ and now that all of us get to say it for the first time and experience that together is incredible.”
In this year’s PAC Championship game, Morgan scored 15 points with nine of those coming from downtown. Additionally, she dished out four assists in 28 minutes of play. She was named player of the game for her outstanding performance in the contest.
For the season, Maria is second on the team in points per game with 9.8 for the 23 -4 Bearcats. She has also nailed a team high 52-threes while dishing out 64 assists.
Consequently she earned second-team recognition in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference .
Her basketball career has been an impressive one to say the least. While at Bucktail, Morgan was a very successful multi-sport athlete competing in tennis, softball and of course, basketball.
She was very successful on both the tennis court and softball field but it was on the basketball court where her excellence was most evident. During her four-year career she netted 2,407 points, dished out 640 assists, swiped 543 steals and drained 196 triples.
Her career points make her the all-time Bucktail and Clinton County scoring leader. She is very decorated in terms of all-star honors with a second team and two first team all-state selections along with numerous other honors.
Now four years after her 2015 graduation from the small Western Clinton County school, Maria continues to play a game that she loves.
While preparing for perhaps the most exciting game of her storied career, the criminology major, with a minor in sociology, took a few quick moments to reflect on her time at SVC.
“My playing career at SVC has been rewarding,” Morgan said. “I have gained many friendships, life lessons, and memories while playing the game. I had many challenges throughout my career at SVC, but it has only made me a better person and player moving forward and that is all I could have ever asked for.”
Despite the many individual accomplishments throughout her career, Morgan is very humble. When asked what the most memorable moment of her basketball career was she commented: “I have two. This year, the night we played Juniata and a group of my family and close friends from Renovo came to support my team and I at our game. It just shows how close knit our small town is and it meant so much to me to see familiar faces there. The second was winning the PAC championship this past weekend. I still cannot believe it and this moment gives me chills every time I think about it because it was that incredible of a feeling.”
Maria Morgan is a small-town girl making a big-time impact at the next level of college basketball. She recognizes that dreams are possible for those who work to achieve them. She offered this advice to young athletes from small town Central Pennsylvania who might have a desire to play college basketball just like she is doing. She said: “Never give up. If you set playing basketball in college as your dream, chase it and do not stop until you achieve it. I play in division III, which is the lowest level in college basketball, but ask anyone who plays in this division and they will tell you it is just as competitive as the other levels. It is full of people who sacrifice their time because they love the game so much. Do not base your decision off the division and never feel degraded if you do end up at Division III. Take the opportunity of getting an extra four years of playing, no matter what.” Great advice from a young lady who has done just what she advises.
She has made her mark on the basketball world. From small school Bucktail High School in Farwell, Pennsylvania to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania Maria Morgan has made her mark on the basketball world. She hopes to keep shooting for even greater heights. She and her SVC teammates get the opportunity to do that tonight.
Next up, shock the DIII basketball world. One thing is for sure though, anything that Maria Morgan does on the basketball court will surely be a no-shocker to those who know her best.