Coming off of a 32-point win Friday night over Rochelle, Morris boys basketball coach Joe Blumberg had a goal in mind for his team in Saturday night’s nonconference game against Minooka (3-3).
“We challenged the kids,” Blumberg said. “We told them they could go one of two ways. They could be happy with Friday night and be complacent or they could come out and try to play better than they did Friday night.”
The answer certainly wasn’t complacency, as the Redskins scored a 46-40 win over their neighborhood rivals to improve to 4-1 on the season.
After being tied at 26 at halftime and falling behind 30-27 early in the third quarter, Morris used the hot shooting of Austin Patterson to take control before holding off a late Minooka charge at the end.
Patterson, who led all scorers with 20 points, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 32 with 1:02 to play in the third quarter. It was the first of four consecutive shots that Patterson hit from long range, giving the Redskins some breathing room. Before the third quarter ended, he hit another 3-pointer to put Morris ahead 35-32.
Sam Allen (seven points) made a 12-foot jumper to start the fourth and put Morris ahead 37-32 before Mark Tomac-Geers (six points) scored underneath for Minooka to make it 37-34. Patterson then sandwiched two three-pointers around a basket by Minooka’s Cody Bresnahan, giving Morris a 43-36 lead with 4:19 to play.
“My shots just came in the flow of the offense,” Patterson said. “We ran our plays and executed them well and my teammates did a good job of finding me when I was open.”
Joe Butler, who led Minooka with 13 points, scored four straight on a basket and a pair of free throws, pulling the Indians to within 43-40 with 1:11 remaining. Later, with 33.6 seconds left, the Indians forced a turnover, but Allen drew a charge in the lane, negating a basket by Minooka’s Jake Smith (four points). Evan Bjelland hit a free throw for Morris, then Allen rebounded a miss by Jon Butler and hit a pair of free throws to make it 46-40 with 6.9 seconds left.
“Austin is a streaky shooter,” Blumberg said. “When he gets hot, he can carry us. I was proud of our guards for finding him when he was open. Things got a little shaky at the end, and that’s something I hope we can correct before we go up to play Yorkville on Friday.”
For Minooka coach Scott Tanaka, it was his first loss in a gym that is historically tough on opposing teams.
“This was a good high school basketball game,” he said. “It’s always fun to come over here. I thought we did an alright job offensively, but we did a bad job of defending at times.”