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Climbing the ladder

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

Physical and deceptively quick, Morristown junior guard Logan Laster is a bulldog with the basketball. Drives to the basket, floaters in the lane and no-look passes – Laster has the complete package of an old school point guard.

The junior’s play was on point over the weekend as he helped the No. 8 Morristown Yellow Jackets repeat as Shelby County Tournament Champions.

Morristown defeated a sharp-shooting Southwestern squad 65-45 in the second title contest at Waldron on Saturday. The Spartans finished 5 of 23 from deep and had little success guarding a pair of the Yellow Jackets’ top scorers. Laster’s all-around effort of 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds was enough to win him the tournament’s most valuable player honor.

Laster’s backcourt partner, senior Hayden Langkabel (29 points per game), finished with a game-high 22 points but was relatively quiet in the tournament with a do-what-the-team-needs type of attitude. He did not force shots (8 of 13) after a season-low 12 points against Triton Central on Friday.

Trevon Carlton, a sophomore forward, was steady for Morristown (12-1), as well, adding 10 points and four rebounds.

Southwestern (5-8) was led by seniors Jacob Swanson and Eirik Shackelford, who finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively, and four of the team’s five threes. Shackelford also grabbed 10 rebounds. 

“Hayden doesn’t score (on Friday), and he is totally composed,” Morristown head coach Scott McClelland said. “And all these other guys are scoring. That is what the great ones do, they make everyone around them better. That is what Hayden and Logan did this weekend. Logan really embraces that point guard role.

“Brady (Days) has done a great job at Southwestern. The best compliment I can pay them is they make you play their style.”

Laster said he enjoyed watching former Boston Celtics floor general Rajon Rondo as a young player and wanted to pass like him growing up.

“I am the facilitator, if I have a lane to score I will score,” Laster said of his role on the team. “I try to guard to best player on the other team most of the time. I put on a few pounds of muscle (in the offseason).

“Southwestern played with us for a minute. They played physical, hit some shots and played good defense.”

The game was tied at 16 after the first quarter with Shackelford and Spartans junior forward Blake McClure combining for seven made baskets. McClure was 3 of 3 until a defensive switch helped the Yellow Jackets defense gain an edge.

Langkabel made four field goals in the second to finish with 12 at halftime.

Morristown limited Southwestern to a 2 of 10 effort from the field in the second frame to take a 32-21 lead into the break.

After halftime, Morristown used a 7 of 7 shooting effort in the fourth quarter to hold off the Spartans, who managed just three baskets in the third frame.

“McClure was great early, I give credit to my assistants for making the switch after the first quarter,” McClelland said. “Shackelford had a great game on Friday and did tonight, and Swanson is a tough matchup.”

Senior guard Eli Streeval paced Morristown with eight points. The Yellow Jackets finished just 1 of 10 from behind the arc but were 12 of 16 from the charity stripe in the win.

Morristown will play again on Friday at Rushville, while Southwestern plays on Saturday at South Decatur.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills 37.