MORRIS – Kaneland’s status as a thorn in the side of Morris since the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference formed might have reached a new depth Friday night.
After scoring the first 12 points of the fourth quarter – along with the final four of the third – to take a 44-34 lead, the Redskins were shut out over the final 3:29 as the Knights rallied. Kaneland defeated Morris, 47-44, in a setback to the Redskins’ NI Big 12 East championship chances in boys basketball.
Otherwise 5-0 in conference play, the Redskins are 0-2 against Kaneland, which has gone 2-3 against other conference teams. They will become Kaneland fans tonight, as the Knights will host NI Big 12 East co-leader Sycamore.
“We have kids out there who have logged a lot of minutes through their varsity careers,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said. “It was a bunch of guys stepping up and playing really hard. We executed our 1-3-1. I thought it slowed them down a lot.”
Austin Patterson of Morris scored four points without time coming off the clock twice in the second half. The first was a four-point play to close the third quarter; the second came when Patterson was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer, and the Knights were called for a technical foul after. Patterson made four of the five free throws.
Kaneland got its first points of the fourth quarter on a Drew David conventional three-point play that coupled with 3-pointers from Tyler Carlson and David to cut a 10-point Morris lead to one in a minute of game time. Kaneland then took the lead with 49 seconds to play on a Ryan David steal and basket, and the Knights added two late free throws.
“I don’t think our intensity was good enough. I don’t think our enthusiasm was good enough, and we weren’t tough enough,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “They came to our place and outworked us, and with a chance to at least secure a share of the conference and to get outplayed, I don’t have an answer for that right now.”
Neither team led by more than four points during the first half, which ended with the Redskins ahead 19-18. The teams finished the half with equal numbers of field goals made (seven), 3-pointers made (two) and rebounds (14).