MORRIS — It takes a team to win a basketball game, and the Morris boys team proved that Tuesday night in a 48-45 non-conference win over Pontiac. In the process, the Redskins (7-9) snapped a five-game losing streak and picked up their first victory in 2020.
Ten of the 14 Morris players in uniform scored in the victory and all 14 saw playing time as the Redskins were able to outlast the Indians.
Morris jumped ahead early, as Jack Walker, who led the Redskins with 12 points, sandiwched a pair of three-pointers around a bucket by Pontiac's Ryan Wier (26 points, 10 rebounds). Pontiac then went on a 6-0 run to take an 8-6 lead before Nathan Jepson came off the bench to hit a three-pointer at tne end of the first quarter to give the Redskins a 9-8 lead.
Sophomore Myles Johnston started the second quarter with a steal and a layup for Morris. After a pair of free throws by Pontiac's Carter Dawson, Morris got a putback basket by Nathan Lobb and a three-pointer by Walker to move ahead, 16-10. Pontiac closed it to 19-17 with 2:50 left in the second, but Morris got a basket from Brandon Phelps (5 points), a free throw by Johnston and a three-pointer by Jace Pruim to move ahead 25-20 before Dawson sored on a putback to make it 25-22 at halftime.
"This wsa a game that everyone in uniform contributed to," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. "Some of the guys that got in there tonight hand't seen a lot of action this year. It would have been easy for them to sulk and pout, but they keep working hard at practice and they were ready when they got their chance."
Pontiac opened the second half on a 13-3 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 38-25. Morris halted the run with a bucket by Phelps, then Max Gschwendtner made a free throw with 1.7 seconds left to put the Indians ahead, 36-30. Morris' Evan Briones then received the inbounds pass, dribbled to half-court and heaved up a shot that went in for a three-pointer and trimmed the Pontiac lead to 36-33 entering the fourth.
"Evan's three at the end of the third was huge," Blumberg said ."It cut it to a one-possession game and gave us some momentum for the fourth."
The Redskins rode that momentul to a quick 4-0 run to start the fourth, as Ovahdyah Ben-Israel scored on a putback and Cummings scored on a basket underneath. Wrir then hit a pair of free throws and Logan Barnett hit a free throw for the Indians to give them a 39-37 lead, and Weir added another bucket for a 41-37 edge.
Morris' Nathan Lobb made a free throw, then Cummings converted a steal into a layup to cut it to 41-40. With 2:47 to play, Cummings hit a three-pointer to put Morris ahead 43-41, and Weir answered with a basket at the 2:34 mark to tie it. Walker then hit a three-pointer to put Morris ahead 46-43 with 2:14 to play. Writ then hit a pair of free throws with 1:56 left.
After a Morris timeout with 36 seconds remaining, the Redskins ran some time off the clock before Barry Amiano was fouled and made the front end of a 1 and 1 with 18.7 remaining. Johnston then stole a pass and was fouled, making the first of two free throws with 11.1 remaining. Weir got off a three-pointer as the clock wound down, but it missed and Cummings corralled the rebound to seal the victory.
"After the Sycamore game, when we only had six players attempt a shot, it was nice to see so many guys contribute tonight," Blumberg said. "Nathan Jepson had some big points for us, Jace Pruim and Evan Briones each had a big three-pointer, Nathan Lobb and Ovadyah Ben-Isreal did a good job in the post, and Ovi's putback was a big one.
"We need to ease the load on Colin and Jack a little bit. If the other guys can rise up with confidence and hit some shots, it will make us that harder to guard. We also got some big free throws late. Barry Amiano hit a big one and so did Myles Johnston."