Providence ends Morris' girls season
COAL CITY — For one half, it was a lack of opportunities — and stops — that cost Morris. For the other half, it was a lack of accuracy.
The fourth-seeded Redskins were defeated 51-33 by No. 4 Providence Monday during quarterfinal play at the Class 3A Coal City Girls Basketball Regional. Providence will face No. 1 Joliet Catholic at 6 p.m. in Tuesday's first semifinal, with No. 2 Coal City and No. 3 Lincoln-Way West playing in the second.
Morris made over 61 percent of its field-goal attempts in the first half, yet trailed 34-26 at its conclusion after only shooting 13 times. A 2-for-19 showing kept the Redskins from threatening seriously in the second half, even though Providence endured 8-for-25 shooting itself.
"Other than one stretch of three or four minutes (at the beginning of the second quarter) where they scored 12 points, I thought we played well in the first half," Morris coach Luke Windy said. "In the second half, we were shooting a lot of layups, and we were just missing them. We had looks and we didn't execute, and that's what cost us."
Sophomore Julie Jurasits hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to draw Morris within 15-13 of the Celtics as the first quarter closed. Providence opened the second with 14 unanswered points in the first 3:23, but Morris worked the lead back down 34-26 by halftime behind Jurasits, who finished the half with 13 points.
Providence, which had three putback baskets in the first 3 minutes of the game, finished the half with just a 15-12 advantage in rebounds.
"You can't dictate anything without rebounds. When we rebounded, we were able to push the ball up the court and make some thing happen," Providence coach Eileen Copenhaver said. "No. 24 (Jurasits) had a big impact for them the first half. She's a nice player."
A layup by Jessica Ponce of Morris ended a 2:25 scoreless stretch to open the second half, but it, along with a short Jurasits basket, was one of two Morris field goals during the third quarter. That was two more than the Redskins had in the fourth, when they were 0-for-13 from the field. Providence, which scored half as many points (17) in the second half as it did in the first, still had its lead grow steadily.
"I thought that it wasn't that hard to keep up with their speed," Jurasits said. "The talent between us and them was pretty even. It's just that they executed better."
The loss ends a 6-21 season for Morris.
"It was a rough season, obviously, but the one thing about this group of girls is that they didn't quit," Windy said. "Our two seniors (Sydney Corrigan and Bernadette Cheshareck) finished up a tremendous four years. They're the two who stuck with it and made tremendous contributions to our program."
Morris' top two scorers Monday — Jurasits, who finished with 15 points, and Kellen Bernickus, who had eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds — both will be back next season.
"Everyone has improved so much from the beginning of the year," Jurasits said. "I can't wait for next year. I can't wait to see what we can do."