MORRIS – On the night the Morris Education Foundation announced its 2019 inductees to the Hall of Distinction, the Morris boys basketball team tried to distinguish itself Saturday against Northern Illinois Big 12 East-leading DeKalb.
Despite coming out on the short end of a 54-47 decision, the Redskins did distinguish itself.
The first quarter saw DeKalb’s Jordan Williams drain a pair of 3-pointers, and the Barbs also got a trey each from Isaiah Youngquist and Zachary Russell en route to a 20-11 lead at the end of the quarter. Williams’ two triples came early as he sandwiched them around a basket by Youngquist to give the Barbs an 8-0 advantage with 5:49 to play in the period.
Morris called a timeout and responded with seven straight points, a basket by Logan Edwards, a 3-pointer by Jack Walker and a putback basket by Chatten Dryfhout, to cut the DeKalb edge to 8-7. DeKalb countered with seven straight points to open a 15-7 lead, including back-to-back steals and layups by Blake Williams and Youngquist.
The Barbs scored the first five points of the second quarter to hold a 25-11 lead, but Morris bounced back again, outscoring DeKalb, 8-3, the rest of the first half, with all eight points courtesy of sophomore Colin Cummings, to make it 28-19 at halftime.
DeKalb opened the third quarter on a 7-2 spurt, opening up a 35-21 lead with 4:57 to play in the quarter. Morris rallied to outscore the Barbs, 9-5, the rest of the period and trailed, 40-30, entering the fourth.
“We started out in a zone because we didn’t match up well with them athletically,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “But, our team plays better basketball in man-to-man, so we went back to it and we played really good defense in stretches.
“They got up on us early, 8-0, which is not a place we want to be. But the rest of the way, I thought we controlled the pace of the game and that helped us battle back.”
DeKalb led 44-36 with 3:51 to play, but went on an 8-2 spurt, sparked by six straight points from Williams. Morris, however, did not let up, as a 3-pointer, a pair of free throws, and a driving basket by Jacob Overbeck (12 points), pulled Morris to within 52-45 with just over 30 seconds to play. Morris pulled to within 53-47 when Overbeck made a free throw with 16.1 seconds left, but Williams capped the scoring with a free throw with 10.4 seconds left.
Overbeck had five rebounds to go with his team-high
12 points for the Redskins, while Dryfhout had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Cummings finished with 10 points. Edwards and Walker each scored six points. Youngquist led DeKalb with
12 points, while Williams had 11, Michael Newman added 10 and Williams finished with nine.
“You never want to be happy with a loss,” Blumberg said. “We preach every day that we take the floor expecting to win. That being said, I am more proud of the way we played tonight than I was in some of our wins this year.
“We attacked the gaps in their defense, got to the rim and kicked to shooters much better from the second quarter on.
If we can keep playing like this the rest of the year, we will be OK.”