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Morris boys basketball team keeps it close, but falls to Ottawa

MORRIS – For the Morris boys basketball team on Tuesday night, its task was simple. Stop a two game losing streak against Ottawa in the Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover game while halting a 19-game winning streak by the Pirates at the same time.

The task also fell on senior night for the Redskins as they were honoring Ricky Pelnarsh, Sam Allen, Tyler Thuente, Brock Kukman, Tanner Sampson and Tony Rogalla for their time in the program.

In the end, Ottawa wore the Redskins down, winning by a 57-47 score.

Rogalla, Kneller, Pelnarsh, Thuente and Allen got the start and the game was at 5-2 when Morris coach Joe Blumberg brought in junior replacements and normal starters Jake Walker, Austin Patterson and Evan Bjelland.

Patterson immediately hit a 3-point field goal for Morris and later Kneller hit a basket to keep Morris within 11-7. Kneller would eventually make the last basket of the quarter for the Redskins but Ottawa led 16-9 after the first segment.

Kneller would continue to be the go-to guy for the Redskins in the second quarter.

He had eight of the 13 points by Morris in the frame. In fact, with the help of an offensive rebound by Patterson and an assist from Kukman, Kneller had a conventional 3-point play that tied the game at 20-20.

He then, got a putback of his own miss to give the locals the lead at 22-2 with 25 seconds before half, but Chase Hill hit a 3 at the buzzer and the Pirates led 24-22 at intermission.

Ottawa got off to a quick start to begin the third, scoring the first six points and leading to a Morris timeout.

Just as fast things changed the other way.

Out of the stoppage, Kukman made a free throw, Sampson a basket, Kukman a steal and a layup and Sampson a field goal to make it 32-29 and led to an Ottawa timeout.

Just as quickly things changed back and Ottawa, though Sampson hit a half-court buzzer beater to make it 39-34 heading to the fourth.

For more on the game go to

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