MORRIS – About halfway through Morris’ home boys basketball game against Reed-Custer on Tuesday, Redskins coach Joe Blumberg lost his voice.
After the Comets went into the MCHS gymnasium and stole a 77-69 win over his team, the raspy Blumberg had little trouble making his point about what went wrong in the previous two hours after his team’s first home loss of the season.
“I feel like we couldn’t get a stop when we needed it. We got driven too much on the perimeter,” he said. “We let two sophomore score quite a few points. We let them get comfortable. I thought they outworked us. They outplayed us.”
Those two sophomores were Travis Schoonover and Brent Headrick. Schoonover ended the game with 25 points and Headrick had 14, while Mason Dransfeldt added 11 and Tyler Foote had 10 in the win.
The score was tied at 53 with about four minutes to play when R-C took control of the game.
At that point, Headrick hit a 3-pointer, the Morris offense turned the ball over and Dransfeldt converted a conventional three-point play aft of an offensive rebound, leading to a Redskins timeout.
“To be honest, we struggled to stay between our man and the basket,” Blumberg said. “When we got down, I thought it was going to be hard to come back because of how poorly we defended them the whole game.”
Down 65-59, Morris did get a bucket by Jake Walker at 2:52 but the Comets responded with a basket by Foote and a free throw by Schoonover to build a 68-61 advantage. Two Austin Patterson (18 points) free throws got Morris to 68-63 with 1:41, but Logan Zavala scored three straight points (a field goal and a free throw) to build a 71-63 lead.
Down the stretch, Walker did convert a three-point play and Patterson concluded the game’s scoring with a 3-pointer, but Foote added a field goal and two free throws and Headrick had two free throws to account for the final score.
“We hadn’t faced adversity at home to this points and I thought we didn’t respond to it well tonight,” Blumberg said.
In the first half, Morris led 18-13 after the first quarter and 34-33 by haltime by limiting turnovers and forcing 10 of R-C’s 15 turnovers in the game in the first 16 minutes.
“We had too many [turnovers] and we didn’t force enough,” R-C coach Mark Porter said. “I think they did a really nice job of attacking us. They kept the ball out of bad areas where we couldn’t get to traps.”
That changed in the second half and Morris wound up with 25 turnovers in the contest.
“There are going to be more turnovers when you play them because of their style,” Blumberg said. “But we had some guys who have normally been secure with the basketball had uncharacteristic games tonight. We shot poorly from three.”
The Comets run and gun style seemed to have another effect down the stretch.
“It seemed that as the game wore on and we kept pushing the ball, I think their shots started coming up short,” Porter said. “I think a lot of that had to do with fatigue and the pace that was set in the game. It’s a pace we are comfortable with.”
For the game, Morris shot 38 percent (33 of 86) and actually outshot the Comets (30 of 84 for 36 percent). The Redskins also out rebounded R-C, 42-33. The one big area of difference came at the free throw line where R-C made 24 of 32 and Morris 6 of 9.
“They hammered us at the free-throw line, outscoring us by 18 points at the free throw line and that is a sign of aggressiveness,” Blumberg said. “They were very aggressive going to the rim.”
Morris is now 13-4 on the season and R-C is 13-9.
“Joe’s a really good coach and he’s does a good job,” Porter said. “He’s built a really nice program here and we’re just happy and thankful to come in here and come out with a win.”