MORRIS — It was set up to be a great night for the Morris boys basketball team Friday.
It was the last home game of the year, Senior Night, against Northern Illinois Big 12 rival Yorkville for the last time before the Redskins change conferences next year. On top of that, the stands were as full as they had been for a game all season.
Unfortunately for Morris (10-18, 4-8), the shots didn't fall, and Yorkville walked away with a 50-36 victory.
"To be honest, tonight had one of the best atmospheres that I can remember in a long time," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. "It is kind of frustrating when you don't perform well in at atmosphere like this.
"The kids had a lot of support from their peers and the community tonight, and we appreciate it. We just wish it could have given them a better show."
Both teams showed some strong defense early on, as Yorkville held a 2-0 lead until Morris' Jacob Overbeck made a three-pointer and was fouled. He made his free throw to complete the four-point play and give the Redskins a 4-2 lead with 3:42 to play in the first quarter.
Yorkville, though, scored the final eight points of the quarter, on a three-pointer each by James Eberhart and Ryan Shimp, and a steal and layup by Jack Marker, to take a 10-4 lead into the second.
The second quarter opened with a basket by Morris' Ryan Lain, but Yorkville's Mason Klaas scored the next four points to open a 14-6 lead for the Foxes.
The Redskins, who play Plano in the Class 3A Sandwich Regional on Tuesday night at 7, countered with a 9-0 spurt of their own, as Overbeck scored two straight baskets and Jack Walker hit a floater in the lane and then drained a three-pointer, to give Morris its first lead of the game, 15-14.
Klaas answered with a three-pointer for a 17-15 Foxes lead before Colin Cummings made a three-pointer to put Morris ahead, 18-17, in the final minute. The half ended on a three-pointer by Eberhart, and Yorkville took a 20-17 lead into intermission.
"In the first quarter, we were a little hesitant to take some of the shots we had that were open," Blumberg said. "I give our kids grecit for not letting the adrenaline from the start of the game and the big crowd take over, but we got a little too passive and passed on shots that we wanted."
Yorkville began the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 28-20 lead with 6:05 left in the quarter. Walker then sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a basket by Brandon Ducoing to pull the Redskins to within 30-26. Klaas then converted an old-fashioned three-point play for a 33-26 Yorkville lead, but Morris got a free throw by Lain and a putback basket by Logan Edwards to get back within 33-29. Yorkville's Charles DiVito then converted a three-point play and a basket by teammate Zakary Kocecny put the Foxes ahead, 38-29. Overbeck made two free throws and Aidan Klaas scored on a putback at the buzzer to send Yorkville into the fourth with a 40-31 lead.
After a baskt by Aiden Klaas to start the fourth, Edwards hit a three-pointer to bring Morris to within 42-34, but the Redskins got no closer.
"Give Yorkville's defense credit," Blumberg said. "They took us out of what we wanted to do. They were more physical on the boards than we were, and they were a step quicker to loose balls.
"We would have liked a better script to send our seniors [Overbeck, Dryfhout, Lain, and Edwards] out on. I was very proud of how hard they all played. Now, we have to get ready for a tough Plano team in the regional."