MORRIS — The Morris boys basketball team tipped off its run at the 33rd Morris Boys Shootout on Wednesday by taking on Lockport, one of the three other teams in its pool. Later in the day, the Redskins were to play Neuqua Valley and O'Fallon.
In the opener, which was played in the main gym at Morris Community High School, the youthful Redskins suffered a 43-23 defeat, but coach Joe Blumberg was more concerned with progress than wins and losses.
"We take a lot of pride in being prepared for our opponents," Blumberg said. "The zone they played was the first zone we have seen all summer, and we didn't handle it very well."
The Lockport zone made life miserable for the Morris offense in the first half, as the Porters jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Jack Walker scored the first Redskin basket with 15:41 to play in the 20-minute first half. A putback basket by Chatten Dryfhout made the score 14-4 before Lockport went on a 13-0 spurt to make it 27-4. Morris, however, scored the final four points of the first half on a bucket by Dryfhout and a putback basket by Zach Reddinger, to make it 27-8 at halftime.
After talking things over at intermission, the Redskins were able to play much more even with Lockport in the second half. The Porters outscored the Redskins 16-15 after halftime, as Dryfhout scored seven points, and Reddinger, Ryan Lain, Gabe Huffman and Logan Edwards all had a basket.
The Morris roster for the game included Dryfhout, Walker, Reddinger, Lain, Huffman, Edwards, Jacob Overbeck, Brandon Phelps, Collin Cummings, Colby Kingsbury, Dylan Sasser, Evan Briones, Matt Grant, Joe Amiano, and Andrew Hipes.
But the score didn't tell the entire story. Blumberg was pleased with the improvement of his team's performance in the second half, and he was heard yelling out the phrase, "Good block out!" on Morris rebounds on multiple occasions.
"We made some adjustments in the second half and did a better job," he said. "For the last four years or so, turnovers have really been our nemesis, and they were again. If you don't take care of the ball, you can't win, whether it's in the summer or the winter. We hope to get better with that as the tournament progresses.
"I was happy with Zach Reddinger. He didn't play basketball last year and has only been with us three days this summer, but his athleticism and size at both ends of the floor will be beneficial to us."