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Article updated: 3/7/2014 10:32 PM
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Offensive struggles costly as Morton tops Conant
 

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Offensive struggles costly as Morton tops Conant
Greg Swiderski

Missed shots and costly turnovers were Conant's demise at Morton on Friday night.

The Cougars had been hoping to advance to the Bartlett sectional, but those plans were dashed when the Cougars lost to the No. 4-seeded Mustangs in Class 4A regional final action in Cicero 36-24.

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"We had a good gameplan," said Conant coach Tom McCormack. "We wanted to dominate possessions, and we did that. We wanted to keep them from getting multiple shots and keep them off the boards. We did that pretty well.

"What we didn't do well is shoot the ball. We didn't get a lot of good looks, and when we had some good chances inside we didn't convert those shots."

Conant (22-6) shot just 27 percent on 10-for-36, mostly from beyond the arc as the Cougars had trouble getting inside Morton's defense.

"Morton covered so much ground with their defense that it was like there were seven defenders out there at times," McCormack said.

The Cougars started well enough, scoring 8 points in a row after the Mustangs had taken a 3-0 lead. Morton (21-5) tied the game at 12 to end the first quarter on a basket by James Cannon (12 points) with :36 left.

Conant's D'Angelo McBride (10 points, 8 rebounds) scored the first two baskets to start the quarter, giving the Cougars a 16-12 lead with 6:06 left in the first half. The Cougars didn't score the rest of the quarter. Weisner Perez scored three baskets in the quarter to get Morton an 18-16 lead at halftime.

The Mustangs then scored the first 8 points of the third quarter for a 26-16 lead before Conant's defense clamped down. The Cougars held Morton scoreless for the next 8:02, scoring 6 points in that span to trail 26-22 after three quarters.

Joe Ranallo scored the only basket on the fourth quarter for Conant with 4:28 left to make the score 28-24. While Morton didn't score from the field, it converted 8 of 9 free throws down the stretch to pull away.

"Their trapping defense slowed us down, took us out of what we like to do," said Morton coach Tony Martinucci. "Even when we made a couple of runs they came back at us. Conant's a tough team to play."

"They had a real tough defense," said McBride. "But we found ways to fight back as best we could when they made their runs. Our team did the best that we could tonight. We finished 22-6 and a Conant team has not done that in awhile. It was a great season for us. We wanted to set the standard for the next group of players."

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