MORRIS – Sycamore’s boys basketball team was able to grind out a Northern Illinois Big 12 East victory with a 44-36 win Friday over host Morris.
Morris raced out to a 5-0 lead to start the game, but Sycamore forwards Devin Mottet and Ben Niemann helped lead the Spartans back into the game. The Spartans would lead, 11-8, at the end of the first quarter behind six points from Mottet.
“I thought we allowed too many post touches, and that’s not always the post defender’s fault,” Morris head coach Joe Blumberg said. “More ball pressure would have helped. Weakside [defense] would have helped. I though we gave them some buckets they didn’t have to earn.”
Sycamore forced Morris into 11 consecutive misses from from beyond the arc in the second half and the Redskins would finish the game 6 for 22 from 3-point land after hitting five of their first nine shots from distance.
In the fourth quarter, a tip-in of his own miss by Morris senior guard Jake Hogan would cut the Sycamore lead to 33-29 and a Jason Matteson free throw would eventually make it a one-possession game.
However, Sycamore started to knock down their free throws and put some distance between themselves and the Redskins. Sycamore made 9 of 12 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
A late Ben Ortiz three and a foul gave Morris one last chance to cut the lead to a single possession with less than 20 seconds left, but Ortiz would eventually miss the free throw and Sycamore would go on to win.
Niemann led the Spartans with 13.
Sycamore girls spoil Morris’ senior night: Sycamore’s girls basketball team edged Morris for a 55-49 win in the first game of Friday’s double-header.
The Redskins got off to a quick start and jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the first quarter, but the Spartans came storming back behind the sharpshooting of sophomore Bailey Gilbert. Gilbert scored 10 points in the first quarter and the Spartans carried a 15-10 lead into the break.
Gilbert would continue to fuel the Sycamore attack and the Spartans would go on to extend their lead to 32-16 and led by 12 at halftime.
Sycamore poured on the steam coming out of the half. The Spartans went on an 11-2 run to start the third quarter and at one point their lead extended to 21 points.
At the end of the third quarter, Morris trailed by 17 points.