Tyler Morrison was fresh off an appearance in the bracket championship of the N’awlins Elite Showcase with her Louisiana Lady Select AAU teammates, arriving back in town Saturday for an early evening dinner.
Morrison, a senior-to-be at St. Michael the Archangel, enjoyed her team’s performance that included a 3-0 mark until a 60-56 loss in the bracket final against a team from Chicago.
However, Morrison wasn’t idle for very long. There was an early wake-up call Sunday, signifying the final AAU trip of the summer — the Adidas Girls National Championships in Suwanee, Georgia.
“I just keep going and never stop,” said Morrison, a student with a 3.7 grade-point average taking Advanced Placement courses. “I like it, though. I like to travel and see new places. It’s fun to be in gyms. I don’t mind it.”
The end of summer basketball didn’t bring the result Morrison sought. Her depth-thin team (only six players made the trip) won their first two games until being derailed by consecutive losses, including a 48-35 setback Tuesday in a game Morrison had a tournament-best showing of 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The challenging AAU season took the 5-foot-8 Morrison, a combination guard, to seven tournaments in four states with two central objectives.
National-caliber competition would not only enable Morrison to improve her game with an eye toward leading St. Michael to a Class 4A state championship next season but also provide college coaches with a window to her all-around game.
“I want to play college basketball and then go overseas one day,” said Morrison, who has scholarship offers from Louisiana-Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State. “I know that I have to do all of this now.”
That’s because this AAU season — her seventh — was Morrison’s last and with it came a certain sense of urgency playing for Ponchatoula assistant KJ Lee and her mother, Tonya.
“Sometimes you want to say your body’s tired, but you can’t,” Morrison said. “You have college coaches watching, and you have to keep going. They want to see what you can do when you’re tired. You can’t stop.”
Morrison prepared herself with another successful high school season and series of demanding offseason workouts.
St. Michael extended its streak of District 6-4A championships to seven straight, finishing with a 23-11 record after a regional playoff, four-point home loss to Breaux Bridge.
Morrison, who scored her 1,000th career point in a 49-28 win over St. Amant, was selected the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s District MVP, All-Metro and honorable mention Class 4A all-state.
“She’s the type of player that will do anything I ask of her, and that’s what makes her a really good player,” St. Michael coach Tami Reynolds-McClure said. “She’s a total team player. That’s going to make her successful at the next level.”
Morrison’s amassed 1,211 career points and averages of 11.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.0 steals and 3.0 assists in three seasons. She’s also inched closer to the 1,578 career points by her older sister Taylor, a member of Nicholls’ basketball team.
Nonetheless there remains an undisputable driving force in Morrison’s career, along with six other seniors for St. Michael, which is to fulfill the void of a state basketball title.
Morrison proudly displays the state championship ring she won two years ago in the 400 meters at the Class 4A track meet but remains in pursuit of a goal that’s become increasingly difficult each season to achieve.
“I think about it all the time,” Morrison said. “Everyone has the same goal and mindset. We all want to win state this year and leave our mark on the school.”