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Morris boys fall to Streator in home opener

MORRIS — For most of the first half Tuesday night, the game against Streator was going just how Morris boys basketball coach Joe Blumberg wanted it to go.

The Redskins were controlling the pace of the game be being deliberate on offense and taking time off the clock on their possessions. Midway through the second quarter, Morris owned an 11-9 lead.

"I know it isn't the most exciting brand of basketball, but it was what we needed to do," Blumberg said. "And we did it for most of the first half."

The scoreboard moved slowly in the first quarter, as each team scored four points. Tyler Spiezio, who had game-highs with 15 points and 11 rebounds, scored the first basket for Morris, while Chatten Dryfhout scored on a putback of his own missed shot. Streator, meanwhile, got a free throw from Wes Jolly and a three-pointer by Mason Benning with :32 left in the quarter to account for its scoring.

Streator scored the first four points of the second quarter on baskets by Grant Mascal and Jolly before Spiezio scored back-to-back baskets for Morris to tie it at 8. After Streator took a 9-8 lead on a free throw by Noah Mascal, Morris' Jack Walker hit a three-pointer to put Morris (0-5) ahead, 11-9, with 3:10 to play.

Spiezio picked up his second foul with 3:35 left in the first half and sat until halftime. After Walker's three-pointer, Streator went on an 8-0 run to close the half and take a 17-11 lead into the break.

"Having Spiezio on the bench changed things," Blumberg said. "We wanted to run time off the clock and get us to halftime, but we forced some things and turned the ball over, which led to points on their end."

Streator came out of halftime red hot, and shot 9 of 11 from the field in the third quarter en route to building a 38-16 lead entering the fourth. Morris eventually cut the lead to 44-30 with 2:42 to play, but could not get any closer.

Jacob Overbeck had five points for Morris, while Dryfhout had four points and five rebounds. Walker had three points, while Cody Bledsoe had two and Kam Dransfeldt and Ryan Lain each scored one.

Streator featured a balanced scoring attack, as Mitch Vickers, Josn Benckendorf, Jolly and Grant Mascal each scored eight and Benning added six.

"We showed spurts of being aggressive in the second half," Blumberg said. "We haven't run the extended press like we did tonight. We aren't deep enough or in good enough shape to do that yet, and they exploited us.

"Streator came into our place and outplayed us in every facet tonight. We aren't where we want to be right now. We didn't extend our possessions long enough and we had too many turnovers."

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