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Morris able to sustain early lead to defeat Seneca

SENECA – Three-point shooting got Morris an early lead Saturday night, and the Redskins protected it sufficiently to defeat Seneca, 46-42, in nonconference varsity boys basketball.

Seneca built a 7-0 lead in under two minutes, but once Morris broke through with a Brock Kukman jumper less than three minutes in, it did not let up. The Redskins scored 17 of the final 21 points in the first quarter, shooting 4 for 6 from 3-point land and 6 for 10, overall.

Austin Pattersonmade two more 3-pointers in the second quarter to go with the two he made in the first as the Morris lead grew as large as 25-14. Seneca needed a late Conlan Callahan 3 to get within eight to end the half.

"We didn't play hard the first half. That's the difference in the ballgame," Seneca coach Russell Witte said. "We tried to face-guard [Patterson]. We practiced on it for a couple days, and then we get into the game and it just kinda broke down."

Six points from Austin Applebee and five from Patterson during the third quarter allowed Seneca to narrow its deficit to 33-28 entering the fourth quarter. A conventional three-point play from Brad Wyss and baskets from Applebee and Callahan brought the Irish within 37-35 of Morris with half of a quarter to play.

Morris, which had struggled to score with Seneca's defensive attention focused on Patterson, turned to Jake Walker. Walker scored seven of his 13 points during the fourth quarter, including a jumper and a 3 on consecutive possessions with Seneca within two points of the lead.

"I'm just trying to find the best shot for me. I was able to get open, and then I just took the shots that were open," Walker said.

Late in the fourth, the Irish missed six consecutive shots. By the time Callahan ended the skid with a 3 with less than a second showing on the clock, it was too late.

"We knew that there was gonna be a run at some point," Kukman said, "and we had to weather the storm and just get right back at them, and I think we did that."

Three players scored in double figures for Morris (9-2). Patterson led the way with 16 points, with Walker getting 13 points and Kukman had 11 points. Kukman had a Morris-high six rebounds.

Callahan scored 19 points and Applebee had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Seneca (10-3). Applebee led the Irish to a 32-25 edge in rebounds.

"Every rebound was mine, that was my mentality," Applebee said.

Morris held Seneca to 14 for 48 shooting, and aside from Callahan and Applebee, no Seneca player scored more than four points.

"It's two teams that get after it, man to man, but they run so many darn good sets that you'd like to switch it up a little bit, to take 'em out of their rhythm, but man to man's our bread and butter," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. "I thought our guys closed out well, especially when we needed stops."

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