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Morris measures tourney success in progress

MORRIS — Forrest Gump would love summer basketball. You never know what you are going to get.

The Morris girls basketball team already knew they would be young and inexperienced entering the 22nd Annual Morris Ladies Shootout.

Last week, though, they got a bit of a surprise when East Aurora had to drop out of the 28-team field due to a scheduling conflict.

As is the hosts' duty, the Morris team had to do what it could to make the tournament work. That meant splitting up the already young team into two, with one taking the spot of East Aurora.

"We had to keep the tournament running," Morris coach and tournament director Kate Carey said. "That was the first priority. We found out too late to get another team to come, so we split our team.

"There was a silver lining in that, though, since everyone got to play a lot of minutes and we got to see a lot of people and what they can do."

Morris' Team 1 consisted of junior Alexis Smith and sophomores Kennedy Dransfeldt, Karrina Riley, Maddy Hughes, Payton Lewis, Lainy Button, Rachel Heap and Cheyenne Hills. Morris Team 2 was made up of juniors Chloe Ostrem, Faith Ritter and Marissa Trobl, sophomores Mackenzie Lind, Kyla Kjellesvik, Allyssa Matuszewski and Kyla Kinney, and freshman Lauren Bounds.

Not surprisingly, each team went 0-3 in pool play, with Team 1 losing to Ottawa, Lockport and Oswego and Team 2 taking defeats at the hands of Antioch, Hononegah and Minooka.

"With as young as we are, wins and losses aren't the most important thing," Carey said. "We want to make progress from game to game, and from that standpoint, I was happy with how our girls played today."

In the opener against Ottawa, Morris fell behind, 5-0, early but rallied to take a 6-5 lead when Smith sandwiched a pair of baskets around one by Dransfeldt. Ottawa, though, outscored Morris 13-4 in the rest of the first half to take an 18-10 halftime lead.

The Lady Pirates extended their lead to 24-13 midway through the second half, but Mrris cut it to 27-18 after a three-pointer by Button and a basket by Dransfeldt. Ottawa then scored the final 12 points of the game to claim a 39-18 win.

In Morris Team 1's second game, against Lockport, the Redskins fell behind 9-0 out of the gate. Smith got the Redskins' first and only basket of the first half with 13:30 to play and Dransfeldt hit three free throws during the rest of the first half as Lockport built a 26-5 halftime lead. Lockport outscored Morris 10-8 in the second half to win, 36-13, as Dransfeldt and Smith each had four points for the Redskins.

"Alexis Smith did a good job today," Carey said. "She really plays hard. Kennedy Dransfeldt did a good job, especially rebounding, and Karrina Riley looked like an experienced guard handling the ball.

"On the second team, I thought Lauren Bounds looked pretty good for a freshman playing against varsity competition."

During each team's last game, the teams combined and everyone was able to get into the action.

"We split it totally for the first four games," Carey explained. "In the last two, we combined everybody so the girls didn't get too tired. They still have another day of games.

"We were able to run plays and get the ball to people in places where we wanted them to have it. The shots just didn't fall. If I could change one thing, it would be the number of points we gave up, but we will keep working on our defense and that will get better."

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