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Morris girls score OT win to open Ottawa tourney

OTTAWA – Morris girls basketball coach Kate Carey was more than relieved Saturday after the Redskins posted a 49-43 overtime win over Pontiac in the opening game of the Ottawa Lady Pirate Christmas Classic.

That was because she saw Pontiac erase a 33-25 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter and rally to take a
41-37 lead in the final minute.

But then, Mya Shannon took over.

With 35 seconds left, Shannon drove the lane and scored to pull Morris to within 41-39. Morris then fouled Pontiac’s Addison Masching with 20.5 seconds left.

Masching missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Morris’ Paige Valentine grabbed the rebound. She got the ball to Shannon, who was fouled while shooting with 10.6 seconds left.

She made both free throws to tie the game at 41.

Pontiac called timeout with 2.4 seconds left, but Morris’ Kennedy Dransfeldt stole the inbounds pass, but the clock ran out before she could get a shot off and the game went to overtime.

Shannon, who led all scorers with 30 points, scored the first four points of the overtime session, sinking a pair of free throws and scoring on a putback basket. Pontiac’s Jackie McKee scored with 1:46 left to make the score 45-43, but Shannon scored in the lane at the 1:29 mark for a
47-43 Morris lead.

The Redskins (6-6) got a free throw from Valentine with 25.5 seconds left and one by Dransfeldt with 4.9 seconds remaining to secure the win.

“There’s never a dull moment with us,” Carey smiled after the game. “We have our three seniors out there [Shannon, Valentine and Gigi Corban] who have experience and know how to close out a game. But at times, we have a couple of freshmen out there who are still learning.”

The game was tight through the first half, with the Redskins owning a 10-7 lead after one quarter and leading, 17-14, at halftime.

Morris’ defense forced 10 Pontiac turnovers in the third quarter, leading to Morris’ 33-25 lead heading into the fourth.

“Our defense played well, especially in the post,” Carey said. “We have games like this where we really get into a groove with our defensive rotation. We are starting to do that more consistently, which is nice to see.

“I also thought Paige Valentine did a nice job defensively. Overall, this win was one where the defense came first.”

Corban had 11 points and eight rebounds for Morris, while Shannon and Valentine (four points) each had seven rebounds and Dransfeldt (three points) added five.

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