Morris' manpower too much for Burlington Central
There was a moment in the third quarter which encapsulated Morris' 56-36 quarterfinal victory over Burlington Central at the Plano Christmas Classic on Saturday.
Morris' Austin Patterson collected an offensive rebound and easily converted the second-chance field goal to provide his team its first 20-point lead.
Central coach Brett Porto benched almost his entire starting unit after several players failed to react to the initial miss.
"We were trying to find some people who wanted to play hard," Porto said.
The third quarter was the undoing of the Rockets in Plano.
Reserve guard Ethan Mayfield hit a free-throw line jumper for the Rockets' only points of the quarter.
By the time Morris completed its third consecutive quarter of scoring 16 points, Central was in a 48-24 hole.
Central (7-5), which Morris defeated in the semifinals last year, missed 14 straight shots after the lone Mayfield field goal.
"We just came out slow (after halftime) and didn't really hit (any) shots," Mayfield said.
Second-chance points--or a lack thereof from the Central perspective--were telling.
Morris' Griffin Sobol parlayed 5 offensive rebounds into 8 of his game-high 14 points.
Andrew Wiss' putback to beat the second-quarter buzzer was the Rockets' only second-chance points of the first half, which ended with Morris leading 32-22.
"We held them to one-and-done (on the boards)," Morris coach Joe Blumberg said.
The lone second-half bright spot for Central came at the start of the fourth quarter when Blumberg began the final eight minutes with his second unit.
Ryan Fitzgerald had a putback to end the Rockets' 14 straight misses; Stefan Jochum then had back-to-back field goals to conclude an 8-0 run for Central.
"It was probably unfair to throw (the reserves) to the wolves," Blumberg said.
The Morris coach reinserted his starters, and Central came no closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
"They completely outplayed us in every facet of the game," Porto said.
Morris (7-3) scored the first 7 points of the game, but the Rockets answered with a 16-6 run after falling behind 12-2.
Central misfired on 10 of its 11 3-point attempts.
Jochum had the Rockets' only field goal from beyond the arc in the first quarter to start the most impressive Central run of the game.
Morris' defensive intensity proved to be a central difference-maker.
"They pushed us out of every spot we wanted to be in," Porto said.
Morris enjoyed a 34-20 advantage on the glass and was 21-for-42 from the floor.
Central had 8 fewer turnovers than Morris but shot less than 30 percent (15-51) from the field.
Jochum led Central with 10 points; Mayfield and Zach Schutta added 8 apiece.