MORRIS — One thing that will never be said about the 2019-20 Morris girls basketball team is that they don't play hard.
The Lady Redskins (6-15, 1-5) gave Interstate Eight Conference rival Kaneland everything they had Thursday night, but dropped a hard-fought 26-23 decision.
"Our girls definitely played hard," Morris coach Luke Windy said. "If you would have told me before the game that we would hold Kaneland to 26 points, I wouldn't have believed you.
"We had some dry spells on offense at times, but our girls never gave up and we had a shot to tie it at the end."
In a game in which points came few and far between for both sides, Morris trailed 23-15 with 5:50 remaining. Morris' Chloe Ostrem scoerd underneath off an assist from Lainy Button with 4:40 to play, then teammate Alexis Johnson converted a steal into a layup at the 2:45 mark to make it 23-19.
The Morris defense forced a travel and Button, who led Morris with eight points, scored on a 15-foot jumper to bring the Redskins to within 23-21 with 1:51 to play. Kaneland then got a basket down low from Delaney Sheehan to pull ahead 25-21 with 1:20 to play and Kelsi Modaff made the front end of a 1 and 1 to make it 26-21 with :38.1 to go. Morris' Kyla Kjellesvik then scored with an assist from Johnson to make it 26-23.
Kaneland missed the front end of a one and one with 20.8 seconds left and Ostrem got the rebound, but Morris turned the ball over with 12.5 seconds left. Johnson then got a steal and was fouled and Morris got the ball out of bounds. The Lady Redskins worked the ball to Johnson in the corner, but her three-pointer at the buzzer went off the rim.
"We did a lot of what we wanted to do," Windy said. "Holding a good team like Kaneland to 26 points, our defense played very well. We always talk about winning the third quarter, and we did that. We had a shot to tie it at the end, but the shot didn't go in.
"It was definitely a team effort tonight. Chloe Ostrem had a nice game for us, Maddie Shannon did a nice job on defense off the bench, Alexis Smith gave us a nice spark in the first half. Everyone played well and I am proud of the effort they put out there.
"In the second half, we didn't want to give them any easy opportunities, and we did a good job of containing their dribble penetration. We gave up a few too many offensive rebounds, but overall, we played a good game."