MORRIS — After suffering three tight losses in its four-game losing streak entering Tuesday night's Interstate Eight Conference matchup with Sandwich, the Morris boys basketball team found itself in another game that went down to the wire.
This time, though, it was the Redskins (3-4, 1-1) who managed to overcome a deficit late in regulation and then prevail in two overtimes, 52-47.
"Three of our four losses have been tight games," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. "You wonder what that does to a young team's psyche, but our guys kept fighting tonight. You go over situations in practice, but it's hard to simulate game intensity like we had tonight.
"I am proud of the way our guys gutted it out and fought the whole way."
The game was tight throughout, with Morris holding a 13-10 lead after one quarter and Sandwich owning a 25-21 halftime advantage. The Indians led 31-29 entering the fourth, but Morris' Colin Cummings, who led all scorers with 27 points, scored on a drive to open the fourth and tie it at 31.
Sandwich then got a free throw and a basket frmo Jacob Heilemeier (17 points) to take a 34-31 lead with 5:29 to play. Cummings tied it with a three-pointer with 3:12 left before Heilemeier made a pair of free throws with 2:11 remaining.
Neither team scored for nearly two minutes, but Morris' Patrick McPherson grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled trying to put up a shot. He made both free throws to tie it at 36 with :21.5 left. Sandwich turned the ball over with :03 left, but Cummings' half-court show at the buzzer missed and the game went into overtime.
Cummings opened the first overtime with a three-pointer to give Morris its first lead since early in the second quarter. Sandwich's Cade Miller (17 points) scored in the lane to cut the lead to 39-38. Morris' Jack Walker (15 points) was fouled while shooting a three-pointer, and made all three of his free throws by give Morris a 42-38 lead. Sandwich answered with a three-pointer by Kyle Theurer with 50.9 seconds left. Cummings was fouled with 18.8 seconds left and made 1 of 2 free throws, and Miller tied it just before the buzzer to send the game into another overtime.
Walker opened the second overtime with a three-pointer, but Miller hit one of his own for Sandwich. The Indians took a 47-46 lead on a free throw by Drew Theurer before Cummings converted a three-point play after a steal by Myles Johnston to make it 49-47. Cummings then drew a charge to give Morris the ball back, and Johnston sealed the win by making three free throws in the final 1:36.
"There were so many key possessions," Blumberg said. "I don't know if Cummings left the floor in the second half. There were two loose balls that he got. One, he called a timeout before Sandwich could tie him up and the second was a held ball and we had the arrow. Jack Walker hit some big shots for us and Patrick McPherson came up huge when he made the two free throws after getting an offensive rebound.
"For three and a half quarters, we were trying to get over the hump, but we couldn't get the lead. Once we did, we were able to hold onto it, and that was good to see."