MORRIS – Last season, the Morris boys basketball team won six games, and none of them was on its home floor.
Friday night, the Redskins equaled their win total from last year, and eclipsed their home win mark by recording a 48-38 win over Northern Illinois Big 12 rival Sycamore.
After coming away from the Plano Christmas Classic with two losses in which they had the lead in the fourth quarter – games against Plano and Coal City – Morris again took a fourth-quarter lead against the Spartans. This time, however, it was the Redskins (6-9, 1-2) who were able to stretch the lead by continuing to score and by stifling the opposing offense.
Sycamore led, 34-32, entering the fourth, but Morris’ Logan Edwards hit a 3-pointer to open the quarter scoring and give his team a 35-34 lead. Sycamore’s Grant McConkey answered with a 3-pointer of his own to put the Spartans ahead, 37-35. After that, Morris outscored Sycamore 13-1 to close out the game.
The Redskin scoring streak started when Jacob Overbeck, who led all scorers with 18 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds, hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 37 with 5:26 to play.
At the 4:30 mark, Overbeck drove in from the left wing and finished at the basket, putting Morris ahead, 39-37.
After a Morris timeout at the
3:32 mark, Colin Cummings drove into the lane, then passed the ball out to Jack Walker on the right wing. Walker hit a 3-pointer, putting Morris ahead, 42-37.
Sycamore’s Jason Hayes made a free throw with 2:57 left to pull the Spartans to within 42-38, but Morris held Sycamore scoreless the rest of the way. On the ensuing possession, Chatten Dryfhout (8 points, 4 steals) assisted on a basket underneath by Ryan Lain (6 points, 3 rebounds).
After a ball was batted out of bounds by Sycamore under its own basket, Lain went deep to beat the clock. Overbeck hit him with a baseball pass, and Lain converted the layup to put the Redskins ahead, 46-38, with just under a minute to play.
“The 3-pointer by Walker was big in the fourth quarter because it put us up by five,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “And the play by Overbeck and Lain on the press was a big one. After losing two games in the Plano tournament when we had a lead in the fourth quarter, watching those films and seeing the mistakes we made helped us out because we didn’t make those mistakes this time. It was nice to see us being the ones to stretch out the lead late.”
Morris jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead at the start of the game. Overbeck hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the scoring, then Lain added a basket in the paint. Sycamore, however, rallied with the next 10 points to take a 10-8 lead and held a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Morris continued its hot 3-point shooting in the second quarter, as Dryfhout hit a pair of 3-pointers, and the Redskins got one each from Edwards and Cummings. The Redskins held Sycamore to eight points in the second quarter and took a 22-20 lead into halftime.
In the third, Overbeck hit two more 3-pointers, but Sycamore got a pair from Brock Alexander and one from McComkey (16 points) to help them build the 34-32 lead heading into the fourth.
“For a while, it looked like we would live and die by the 3,” Blumberg said. “But we did a better job of getting some drives and some inside touches. Those really helped us move the ball around and opened things up for us. This was a good win for us. We have matched last year’s win total. It was only our second home game of the season, so it was good to see our guys play well on their own floor.”