In her 33 seasons coaching the Millikan girls’ basketball team, Lorene Morgan has had many more memorable wins than Friday evening’s 70-13 victory over Compton. Morgan won the school’s only CIF-SS girls’ basketball championship, in 2014, and several other tournament and league crowns. Friday’s game, in a reduced-capacity gym due to COVID-19 restrictions, did not come with any such prize.
It was, however, a historic milestone. Millikan’s win over Compton gave Morgan her 600th career victory, all with the Rams. She becomes just the 19th girls’ basketball coach in California history to reach that mark, and only the sixth woman according to the Cal-Hi Sports record book.
“I truly never have any idea about these kidneys of things, it really isn’t about that for me,” said Morgan. “It’s a lot of games. And if I’ve won 600? Well, we’ve lost a few, too. It’s a lot of games–a lot of time in the gym with a new group of kids every year. I was thinking about that today, about all the players who’ve come through here and played with us and reflecting. Really quality kids, who’ve stayed in touch and told me about all the great things they’re doing in their lives.”
The Rams looked good on the floor Friday, as Sierra Hill led the way with 18 points, backed up by 12 from Emily Piper and 11 from Amy Walker. COVID-19 and the Omicron surge have made it hard to play any basketball games these days, as all the boys’ basketball games and almost all of the girls’ basketball games in the Moore League were canceled Wednesday and Friday.
Morgan said it’s given her a renewed appreciation for the sport and time together with her team.
“You know I know the score does not reflect it but this was a great game, a great time for both teams to be able to be here and just play,” she said.
Asked to reflect on her most significant wins out of that massive pile of 600, Morgan didn’t name a championship victory, but a playoff win over Canyon Springs where current assistant Brittney Dove Johnson came up with a clutch pair of free throws to lead the Rams to a huge upset in the 2004 postseason.
“It shifted the program to an extent, I can still picture this game like it was last week,” she said. “If you were in Vegas, they probably would have been favored to beat us by 40. It came down to the wire, and Brittney wasn’t the most sensational foul shooter but she nailed both of them to win the game. Stuff like that, watching kids build character and get better. Those are the moments, those are the games I really remember the most.”
The Rams will await news on when they’re able to continue their schedule, as most of the rest of the Moore League is down and inactive with COVID–their next scheduled home game currently is a rematch with Compton on Jan. 26.