Morton set good example as HV basketball player

By Marvin Birchfield

   In his senior year at Happy Valley, Bobby Morton dedicated himself to becoming a hard worker and an honorable athlete.
   Although he might not of been one of the top high school stars in the area, Morton did possess the kind of mentality that coaches both love and adore.
   The Warriors struggled at times throughout the season, but Bobby never let the frustrations sink in. He always kept his head up and did what was expected of him.
   "Even though we haven't had too good of a season in the past three years, I'm still going to miss it, and it's been a whole lot of fun," said Morton.
   Finally achieving his start on the Warrior varsity basketball squad, Bobby has made the most of it by being a solid competitor who makes few mistakes.
   "Bobby is not only a good kid, but he always does what you tell him to do, and you never hear him talk back or complain about things," said Happy Valley coach Charlie Bayless.
   In this era in which we live, it's become less common for the athlete to show his restraint with emotions and display good sportsmanship.
   Morton is an excellent example of how a player needs to conduct himself on the court. When the game is on the line you don't have to worry about him losing his cool and doing something irrational that will diminish the chances for the win.
   "Not once has Bobby ever had a technical called or came off the bench and done something stupid to cost us a game," said Bayless. "I wish every player was like Bobby, and listened like he does."
   Morton has obtained the respect of his coaches and teachers in the four years at Happy Valley. He also has developed a kind of relationship which he'll cherish for years to come.
   "Coach Bayless is great -- he knows a lot, and I really like all of the teachers there," said Morton. "I'm sure going to miss everybody and leaving all my fiends. It's been a lot of fun."
   Dedication and hard work paid off for Morton in his final season, as he's not always had the pleasure of being a natural at what he does.
   "I wasn't that good in my sophomore year, but the last two seasons I tried as hard as I could to improve my skills," said Morton.
   Bobby worked intensely on developing his outside shooting touch for this season, but he wasn't altogether pleased after having trouble finding the rhythm.
   "I worked before the season started to try to improve my shot, but I still didn't shoot the ball like I quite wanted to," said Morton. "I did shoot the ball from off my hip, and then my coach encouraged me to shoot it over my head, but I never did find the touch I needed."
   The game of basketball is not always won with having a guy who can post 20 or more points a night. The player who does all the little intangibles sometimes plays a more important role.
   This was what earned Bobby a starting position this season, for he's not an explosive scorer, but rather someone who makes that great pass or grabs the critical rebound underneath.
   Bobby says he was a little disappointed that the Warriors didn't have a better year than what they did, but a lot of the reason was lacking teammate Lamar Rollins, who was out due an injury suffered during the football season.
   "At camp we were doing great, and then Lamar went out it was all down hill from there," said Morton.
   Even though the Warriors had a rocky season, Morton said they still received a lot of support and encouragement from the school's faculty and staff.
   "Our principal, Mr. Rader, is real cool. He always tells us we've played well and tries to boost our confidence, but sometimes with a losing season nothing will help you out," said Morton.
   Morton says the best team the Warriors faced this year was Elizabethton, with Happy Valley having difficulty in matching up with the more athletic Cyclones.
   "Elizabethton was probably the best team I saw," Morton said. "Their defense was great at trapping the ball and taking it away."
   Bobby has a great relationship with his fellow teammates both on the court and off, and he says they regularly like to hang out with each other.
   "We'll hang out around school, and a lot of times we'll meet and go out to eat somewhere," said Morton.
   With a commendable grade-point average, Bobby says he plans to further his education with enrollment at Northeast State Technical College.
   "I want to attend Northeast State, where I can study radiology. I'm interested in things like that," said Morton.
   Whatever Morton decides to do in life, I'm sure he will show the same kind of dedication that enabled him to live out his desire to play basketball.
   Congratulations and good luck to this great player, who has displayed what it takes to represent his school and the Warrior pride.