2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/10/2014 11:41 PM

Pruett-Carlson connection rescues Kaneland

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Kaneland had already dodged one bullet when Morris missed the front end of a bonus free-throw attempt to pad only its second lead of the game.

With 5.3 seconds remaining in the schools' Northern Illinois Big XII East boys basketball game, the Knights had to go the length of the floor.

John Pruett received an inbounds pass near the time line and tight-roped the sideline; the Knights' senior hit Morris' double-team roadblock near the free-throw line.

Pruett hit Tyler Carlson with a pass, and the latter scored an uncontested lay-in with less than second to play to lift the Knights past Morris 42-41 in Maple Park.

Kaneland (8-4, 2-1) would have fallen two games behind Morris (10-3, 2-1) without the clutch collaboration between the two seniors.

"I don't want to say it was a must-win (game) this early in the season," said Carlson, who led both teams with 18 points. "It was a big win. It was just an awesome play (by Pruett)."

Morris erased a 6-point deficit in less than a minute to take its second lead of the game as Tanner Sampson had his lone field goal of the contest to complete a 7-point burst that gave Morris a 41-40 lead with 33 seconds to play.

Both teams squandered missed front-ends in the penalty to frame the frenetic conclusion.

"We ran the play, and it happened," said Pruett, who scored all 14 of his points in the middle two quarters. "You live and you learn."

Carlson had 4 of the Knights' 5 fourth-quarter field goals.

The forward had a jump hook in the lane, a putback and free throw in succession to give Kaneland a 40-34 lead with 1:20 to play.

But Morris' Sam Allen scored all 5 of his points on consecutive possessions to narrow the Knights' lead to 40-39.

The senior guard then had a steal and fed Sampson for the go-ahead bucket.

It was Morris' first lead since the opening field goal of the second quarter.

Kaneland limited Morris to 5-for-17 field goals in the first half in claiming a 19-11 lead at the break.

"I wish I knew the answer to (the lack of first-half production)," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said.

Austin Patterson, though, single-handedly reversed Morris' offensive fortunes as the southpaw sharpshooter--held scoreless in the first half--drained four 3-pointers after halftime to led Morris with 16 points.

Kaneland had only four players score.

Drew David, who was honored before the game for breaking the Knights' program record for most games played at 85, hit two 3-pointers in scoring 8 points.

"This is the second straight year they have beat us by a point at the buzzer," Blumberg said.

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