High humidity, a defection and a fill-in is the Cliff Notes version of how things ran at this year’s 28th Annual Morris Shootout. In the end, however, Edwardsville beating Stevenson by a 50-38 score in the championship game stood as the tournament’s highlight.
“It’s like every year. We travel 3 1/2 hours to come up here to play because it’s one of the best tournaments in the state,”Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo said. “The kids enjoy it. It’s great for them to come up here and to have the chance to play with no distractions.”
Minooka was severely shorthanded on Thursday, but still managed to get a win against Dundee Crown before losing to Yorkville.
“It was good. We got a lot of inexperienced players the opportunity to get out there and play basketball,” Minooka coach Scott Tanaka said. “Like today, we were missing three or four starters, so it was nice to have the other guys step in. Not only that but to get a ‘W’ and they probably should have won that last one. It’s a good opportunity for the kids to play basketball and to get better.”
Tanaka said that he enjoys making the Morris Shootout the final summer destination for his team.
“It’s always one of the best (Shootouts),” Tanaka said. “It’s exciting and a great way for our kids to finish the summer. It’s also a real close tournament for us, obviously, so our fans are able to come and support. Joe does a great job of running this.”
It is the second-straight year that Edwardsville won the tournament, making them the fifth team to accomplish that feat.
In regards to the high humidity that was causing moisture on the Rec. Center floors, it was dealt with as best as could be according to tournament director Joe Blumberg.
“At 11 this morning, I was questioning whether we’d even be able to play. But the Morris Fire Department brought in two smoke fans, for which we are extremely grateful, and we opened up all the doors to the Rec. Center and the courts were fine by noon.”
Coal City was a fill in for Granite City at the onset of the tournament and North Chicago went home with one game left to play.
“Otherwise, I’d like to thank the players, parents and volunteers who stepped up,” Blumberg said.