Montini nearly overcomes 21-point halftime deficit
Montini's Luke Stone has heard enough halftime chats to extract meaning from paint peeling.
So when Broncos boys basketball coach Daryl Thomas voiced displeasure over allowing Morton to breeze to a 21-point halftime lead, Stone and his teammates got it.
"It's all our defense in the first half, and I think if we continue to pick that up then the second half should be a little smoother," said the senior guard.
For the second time in less than 24 hours, Montini dug itself a hole then made it a one-possession game before falling 68-63 to the Mustangs in a nonconference noon matinee Saturday in Lombard.
"They were having their way with us. They were getting up and down the floor, they were getting layups, which bothers me to no end," said Thomas, who jokingly noted he couldn't repeat his halftime address.
Led by the backcourt of Detalian Brown and Jamari Carthens and center Thaddeus Johnson, in the first half Morton (9-8) made 19 field goals and outrebounded Montini 25-14 to build a 45-24 halftime lead.
Mustangs coach Tony Martinucci wasn't fooled. He saw Montini scurry back from a 12-point deficit Friday at St. Francis.
"I kept telling our guys, I watched them last night," Martinucci said.
Voila, in the second half Saturday Montini (6-15) forced Morton into 6-of-22 shooting from the floor and won the board battle, 14-13.
"At halftime our coach got in our heads," Stone said. "I think it just motivated us so we came out there to play the second half."
Montini outscored the Mustangs 22-9 in the third quarter, then Jayston Williams led the rally within 54-52 with 5:59 left to play.
But Morton never broke. Not when Montini's Michael Orr grabbed a rebound and dribbled in for a layup, then Stone stole the ball and Orr made a free throw to pull within 65-63 with 1:09 to play.
Brown extended it to 66-63 from the line. Montini missed a three-point try and Brown made two more free throws for the final margin.
"We keep knocking at the door," Thomas said. "I just want to knock the door down once. Or twice."
Johnson scored 20 points to lead Morton. Williams scored 21 points, including 10 for 10 from the foul line, followed by Stone with 15 and RayJ Dennis with 10.
"We're battling back, it's just maintaining that and just making the extra step of getting ahead," Williams said.