SUWANEE — In an early season matchup of top college signees, it was a relatively unheralded fellow senior who stood out just as much Monday night.
Troy Morrison had a game-high 22 points, four steals and four assists to lead unbeaten Greater Atlanta Christian to a 70-53 victory over Collins Hill in the Jared Cook Tip-Off Classic at North Gwinnett.
Morrison is usually overshadowed by Virginia signee Isaiah Wilkins and several of his other GAC teammates. The 5-foot-11 point guard, though, is key part of the Spartans' bid to win a fourth Class AA state title in six seasons.
“He’s playing very well,” GAC coach Eddie Martin said. “He was kind of thrown into the water last season and certainly didn’t sink. But he’s playing with a lot more confidence this season.”
Morrison, who averaged 5.6 assists last season, had 12 points by halftime and took charge after Wilkins drew his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and Collins Hill cut a 15-point deficit to seven points. It was his two quick baskets, one after a steal, that began a 9-0 run opening the fourth quarter that broke the game back open.
The 6-foot-7 Wilkins finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for GAC (4-0), which got nine points each from Tyler Hamilton and Cam Boyd.
Hamilton also hounded Collins Hill star Devin Mitchell. The 6-foot-4 Alabama signee ended up with 21 points, but he had to work hard for every one of them. The guard was 7-for-16 from the floor, including 3-for-7 on 3-pointers, and 4-for-7 from the foul line.
GAC broke from a tie at 15 with a 10-0 run and led 40-23 at halftime thanks to a 27-13 breakout in the second quarter. Morrison had eight of his 12 first-half points in the quarter and Wilkins seven of his nine.
Mitchell, held to two free throws in the first quarter, had 10 points at the break, going 3-for-6 from the floor and 3-for-5 at the line.
Pierre Richardson was the only Eagles player to join Mitchell in double figures, scoring 15 points.
Class AAAAAA Collins Hill (1-1) will play Class A power North Cobb Christian at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the final day of the Jared Cook Tip-Off Classic. NCC defeated Sequoyah 81-54 in the first game Monday after falling to Class AAAAA contender Tucker 61-54 on Saturday.
GAC, which rolled to an 88-55 victory over Seneca, S.C., on Saturday at North Gwinnett, is off until playing Southwest Atlanta Christian on Dec. 6. In addition to the victory over Collins Hill, the Spartans owe a 75-41 victory over defending Class AAAA state champion Eagle’s Landing.