PLANO – Morris needed 4:19 to take the lead for good against Rockford Christian and was up double digits for the entire second half when it won 50-31 on Thursday.
Yet the Redskins do not feel an effort like the one they had against Rockford Christian will be sufficient to extend their stay in the championship bracket beyond Friday’s quarterfinals at the 51st annual Plano Christmas Classic.
“We’re 6-1, and we’re in the final eight,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said, “but I think our guys know we’re gonna have to play a much better ballgame tomorrow against either Plano or Coal City.”
The first of two Austin Patterson first-quarter 3-pointers lifted Morris to a 8-6 lead, and it stayed ahead to the finish. More than four minutes into the second quarter, though, Morris had scored only 13 points.
“At first I didn’t really like how we were playing,” Morris forward Tanner Sampson said. “But once we started getting back into the groove, because we’ve had 12 days off since our last game, then I liked it. At the beginning, we could’ve done a lot better.”
Morris scored 10 unanswered points at one point in the second quarter, and 12 of the quarter’s final 14, to take a 25-11 lead into halftime. Its lead grew to 37-20 by the end of the third and by another two points in the fourth, though the team never scored more than four successive points in the second half.
“There was just no flow to the game,” Blumberg said. “I’m just sorta blah from it, and the crowd might have been, too. It’s not taking anything from anybody. It lacked runs. We tried to change the pace. We tried to pick up the tempo, but when shots aren’t falling, we don’t wanna come down the floor and fire up another three.”
Patterson’s 15 points were a game high. Morris got eight points each from Evan Bjelland and Brock Kukman, six from Sampson and five from Jake Walker. No Rockford Christian player had more points than Caleb Bubnack’s seven.