PLANO — The hot shooting that had helped bring the Morris boys basketball team victories in the first two rounds of the Plano Christmas Classic abandoned the Redskins in the first half Wednesday in a 51-37 quarterfinal loss to Newark.
Morris, which had shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in its wins over Fenton and Streator, was able to muster up just 22.2 percent shooting in the first half Wednesday as Newark built a 26-14 halftime lead.
"I don't say this to take anything away from Newark, but I think the two 9 a.m. games caught up with us a bit," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. "We lacked energy and intensity early. And that's very hard to understand, considering the atmosphere and opportunity we had.
"The game was called tight early, and that took away some of our aggressive play. I also thought we got caught up in the officials calls instead of just playing the game, and that starts with me. We are used to a more physical game, and we didn't adjust appropriately."
"We didn't handle their full court pressure and it was like pulling teeth, again, to get our guys to move without the ball. Their zone also frustrated us."
Foul trouble also plagued the Redskins, as starting guards Delaney Stutzki and JaQuan Boxley each fouled out and forward and second-leading scorer Tyler Spiezio finished the game with four fouls. Matt Shaw led the Redskins (4-5) with 13 points, but was the only Morris player to reach double figures. Boxley finished with nine points, while Spiazio had four points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Will Clausel tossed in a game-high 20 points to lead Newark, while Cameron Myre scored 11 and Beau Brown eight.
"We aren't that deep at the guard position, and having two starters foul out hurt any chance of a comeback," Blumberg said. "But they stretch out defenses well and Clausel is so good wth the ball in his hands that a 10-point deficit felt like 20."
Morris returns to tournament action Thursday at 3:30 against Kaneland.
Coal City 77, Yorkville Christian 50: In the consolation bracket at the Plano Christmas Classic, the Coalers jumped out to a 27-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Coal City placed three players in double digits in the Tuesday victory, as Christian Johnson scored 16, Blake Harseim added 14 and Zach Nolan 11.
Lisle 64, Coal City 42: The Coalers were within 12-9 at the end of the first quarter at the Plano Chriswtmas Classic on Wednesday, but Lisle outscored them 27-11 in the second to take control. Jake Brnca led Coal City with 14 points, while Christian Johnson scored 11.
Minooka 47, Lincoln-Way Central 31: At the Lincoln-Way East Medieval Classic, Brooklyn Bachmann scored 17 points to help the Indians improve to 11-2 and advance to the tournament championship Thursday at 4 p.m. against Lincoln-Way East. Jenna Roberts, Cierra Bachmann and Savannah Johnson all scored seven points for Minooka as well.
Kewanee 62, Seneca 39: At the St. Bede Christmas Tournament, Cora Wilkinson scored a team-high 11 points for Seneca, while Lyda Robinson had eight points and six rebounds. Liz Logan and Eva Bruno each finished with six points.
Elgin St. Edward 67, Coal City 45: At the Lisle Tournament, the Coalers got 10 points from Mackenzie Bugg and nine from Maddie Holladay in the opening round loss.
Lisle 42, Coal City 32: In the consolation bracket at the Lisle Tournament, Bridget Kauzlaric led Coal City with 11 points, while Mackenzie Bugg scored 10 and Kenady Clauburn added six.
Dwight 40, Gardner-South Wilmington 36: Celia Barna had a team-high 15 points for GSW (13-5) in the loss.
Gardner-South Wilmington 58, Wilmington 27: The Panthers finished third in the Momence Tournament as Celia Barna and Jenni Price each had 12 points. Price added nine steals as well..