Faith is important to East Davidson's Lori Morgan.
In her final year of high school, the senior still had no idea where she wanted to further her education. Needing guidance and direction, she knew exactly who to turn to. Morgan began to pray, knowing that if she put it in God's hands, the perfect college for her would emerge.
Her prayer was answered on a recent trip to Johnson University, a Christian-based college in Knoxville, Tenn. Introduced to Royals' head basketball coach Doug Karnes on the trip, the point guard for the Golden Eagles was invited to practice with the team. After a few minutes of watching her perform, Karnes knew he needed to get Morgan in the program. He would make a recruiting trip to see her play in a game against Lexington, and the two agreed that Johnson was the right place.
“I really was not looking to play basketball in college,” Morgan said at a signing ceremony at EDHS. “I was just praying and asking God to direct me where I need to go. I did not really know what I wanted to do and what I wanted to major in. It just kinda fell in my lap and God gave me that. I definitely feel like this is where I need to be.”
Karnes believes the 5-6 guard will make an immediate impact for the Royals, who are a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
“We were blown away when we saw her,” he said. “She is going to help us out at the point and at the wing. She is quick and smart with the ball. Lori sees the floor and is the kind of player we are needing.”
Morgan was impressed by her surroundings. Not only did she fall in love with the campus itself, but she hit it off immediately with her future teammates. Most importantly, she was thrilled to have found a home that puts faith at the forefront of every activity.
“Everything they do there is to worship God, including playing basketball,” said Morgan. “Everything with my degree is going to be ministry based. I am really excited about it.”
Morgan was the floor general of an East team that went 24-4 and made a regional semifinal appearance. The Golden Eagles were perfect in conference play, finishing 10-0 to capture the Central Carolina Conference championship. Morgan averaged 8.9 points on the season while dishing out three assists per night.
“Lori is a smart player and she handled the point really well for us,” said East coach Don Corry. “She kept the girls together and she was a leader. Lori was steady and you knew what you were going to get from her every game. This is a great fit for her and she can step in and play right away. We are wishing her the best.”
With every starter back from last season, the Eagles were hoping to reach the state championship game. That all ended in Greensboro when eventual state runner-up Bandys, defeated them 62-42. Still, it was a successful season and one that Morgan will not soon forget.
“Even though it wasn't how we wanted it to play out, it was a great season,” Morgan said. “As a team we grew so much this year. We relied on each other and we were focused on where God is leading us in our lives. We just grew together and made some great memories this year.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.