OTTAWA — Morris coach Luke Windy put it simply: “We really needed this one.”
After taking one on the chin from Joliet Catholic Academy on Saturday, the Lady Redskins fought through foul trouble and an aggressive zone defense to defeat La Salle-Peru 45-42 on Monday night in the Ottawa Holiday Tournament.
The game started out sloppy with both teams committing multiple turnovers and jump balls but neither team was able to pull away. With L-P holding a 10-7 lead, Morris senior guard Sydney Corrigan hit a three pointer to tie the game at 10 late in the first quarter. Two more Morris baskets sandwiched around an L-P score left the Lady Redskins with a 14-12 lead going into the second.
The second quarter started out much like the first — with a lot of turnovers. But again, no one was able to capitalize and the game stayed close. A putback by Katie Friend gave Morris a 16-15 lead at the five-minute mark. After the teams traded baskets, Friend struck again stealing the ball and going in for a layup to put Morris up three. From there, the Redskins cranked up the defense, forcing multiple L-P turnovers and converting several of them into easy baskets. Corrigan stole an L-P pass and scored to make it 28-19, Morris late in the first half. A beautiful pass from the baseline from Friend to a cutting Julie Jurasits gave Morris a 30-21 lead at the break.
The Redskins extended their lead to 11 out of halftime but then the turnover bug struck again.
“Zone defenses have given us trouble all year,” said Windy. “When they went into that half-court zone in the second half, we didn’t handle it well.”
Not handling it well allowed the Lady Cavs to slice an 11-point Morris lead to five at 32-27 midway through the third quarter. At the 2:58 mark in the third, Jurasits drew what appeared to be an offensive foul but it was called a block. Though L-P missed both free throw attempts, the call seemed to set the tone for the next several minutes.Fouls piled up on Morris and by the end of the third quarter, L-P had managed to tie the game at 34 via free throws and Morris miscues.
Morris guard Maddy Feeney hit a jumper early in the fourth to give the Redskins a 36-34 lead but a three-pointer by L-P put the Cavs back up by one.
The teams then traded baskets and at the 3:30 mark, the game was again tied at 40. Jurasits was whistled for her fifth foul at the 3:05 mark. The teams then traded turnovers. Ultimately, the teams again found themselves tied at 41 with 1:29 to play when L-P forward Brianna Argubright fouled out of the game. Friend hit both ensuing free throws to put Morris up 43-41.
On the next L-P possession, Morris was again called for a questionable blocking foul as guard Ashley Bojovic appeared to be in position to draw a charge. L-P however only converted 1-of-2 at the line and the Redskin lead stood at 43-42 with 15 seconds to play. From there, Morris got the ball in bounds and the Cavs were unable to foul before a long pass for a layup sealed a three point win for the Redskins.
“We rebounded well in the second half,” said Windy. “The first half, I thought we gave up too many offensive boards but we did a much better job after halftime. Their dribble penetration also gave us some problems. They were able to drive and kick and get some good looks. We have to do a better job there too. We fought hard. We had some foul trouble but were able to overcome it and get the win.”