Male Athlete of the Week: Finally healthy, Morefield a long-range threat for Warriors

Alex Morefield

STEPHENS CITY – Alex Morefield’s sophomore season with Sherando’s varsity boys basketball team last year amounted to little in the way of consistent playing time.

Finding such would’ve been difficult for any sophomore on a Warriors squad that featured five seniors, but Morefield’s chances at becoming a regular contributor for Sherando took an even bigger hit with a nagging foot injury the bothered him all season.

The ailment, Morefield would discover later, was actually a fracture in his left foot, an injury he suffered the previous summer when he landed awkwardly on the foot of James Wood’s Sam Costin during a tryout for a travel basketball team.

“Now (Morefield) had some good games last year,” Warriors coach Garland Williams said, “but he would play and just make a right or left turn and tweak it and he’d be down for two or three weeks. I think this year, with him being healthy, that’s been a real big factor of keeping him on the court and keeping some playing time.”

Finally healthy after spending last summer in a walking boot, Morefield has been thrust into a starting role for the Warriors as a junior this winter and is proving just how valuable an asset he can be when on the floor.

An accurate shooter from beyond the 3-point arc, Morefield is averaging 10.3 points per game. Morefield, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for Jan. 17-23, scored 28 combined points in losses to Martinsburg (West Virginia) and rival Handley last week.

“He’s been a good threat for us, one of our best outside shooters, if not the best,” Williams said of Morefield, who was shooting 60.7 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc through Sherando’s first 13 games. “Our thing is we’ve been trying to get him to set up a little quicker so he can get more shots. And I’ll give it to him, we’re trying to tell him to get set a little sooner but he’s been really patient and really smart about not rushing shots and not taking bad shots. That’s a big credit to his part. He knows that each possession is precious for us. But no doubt that when he’s open he’s been shooting the ball well from 3 land. And when he does shoot well we roll fairly nicely.”

Even so, 18 points from Morefield weren’t enough to put Sherando over the top against Handley in a 65-62 loss, a game in which Morefield hit four 3-pointers against the Warriors’ Conference 21A/Northwestern District rival.

“That was a big game,” said Morefield, who ranks among Sherando’s leaders in scoring, assists, steals, field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free-throw percentage this season. “I didn’t expect to get that much but we should’ve won that game. We just closed the fourth quarter out terrible. We fouled a lot in the fourth quarter, put them to the line a lot. And they got a lot of and-1’s.”

Morefield’s accuracy from long range – a basketball trait spurred on by the “yelling” from Garland and some of his former AAU coaches, he says – is something that the junior says has been a staple of his game for a “long time.”

“But I’ve been working on it a lot,” Morefield said. “Coach, he’s been telling me to shoot whenever I’m open, so I’ve been doing that. And we’ve been working on it a lot here (in practice) too.”

Williams said Morefield’s shot is one fluid motion, adding that Morefield’s body alignment on shots is good, as is the rotation of the ball as it rolls off his fingertips.

“As far as shot-wise, all the fundamental things are there that help him be a pretty good shooter,” Williams said.

Morefield admits his game isn’t flawless, however. While his passing has improved, he said, he’d like to strengthen his ball-handling ability, and his quickness isn’t where he’d like it to be after fighting his nagging foot injuries for the better part of two years.

“Those are things that we’ll stress at the end of the season that he has to work on,” Williams said. “I think maturity-wise he definitely has matured a good bit and that’s helped his game, and helped us as far as, you know, being a little more serious about the game.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com