MORRIS – After suffering through two heartbreaking losses to Yorkville last year – both by one point each – the Redskins have turned the tables on the Foxes this season. In a physical game where 46 total fouls were called, the Redskins finished the series sweep with a 64-49 home win Friday night.
“It’s a rivalry. Every time we play them, we know they are going to give us their best effort and we are going to give them ours,” Morris senior captain Brock Kukman said. “We know it’s going to be a dogfight to the finish and we know at some point it’s going to get chippy. It’s a matter of persevering.”
That’s exactly what the Redskins did, though they did fall behind once in the game, briefly at the start of the second quarter. They led 13-9 at the end of the first, led 31-22 at halftime and 45-30 at the end of three in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East game.
Most fitting, senior reserve guard Ricky Pelnarsh drew a charging call as the time ran out.
“It’s a rivalry game and we were expecting it to be physical,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “I thought we were poised with the basketball, we made free throws and I think rebounding was the key to the win.”
Morris outrebounded Yorkville, 29-20.
“Today we closed out the game well,” Kukman said. “We made our free throws and [were] smart with the ball.”
Kukman had nine points against Yorkville. Jake Walker and Evan Bjelland had 14 points each to lead Morris. Austin Pattersin added 11.
“I think Tuesday night allowed us to re-focus and let us see what didn’t work for us,” Blumberg said. “Hopefully this gives us momentum going into a big week next week.”
After the game, Kukman tipped his cap to the Morris student section – all 14 rows deep after they stormed the floor following the win.
“It’s great to have that kind of support. They are great,” Kukman said. “They really do what they are supposed to do and that’s get loud. We love it especially since Morris basketball is playing really well right now.”