Hinsdale South falls in OT to Morton
Standing near halftime, Jesus Perez put his palms up in the air in frustration early in the third quarter.
The Morton senior point guard -- unquestionably one of the fastest players in the state -- unexpectedly lost the ball in Friday's showdown against Hinsdale South.
For most of the game, the ultra-quick 5-foot-8 Perez struggled keeping the ball in his grasp. He uncharacteristically lost control of the ball on many possessions, often quickly regaining the ball due to his speed.
With high-scoring junior guard Eliseo Gonzalez electing to play more of a facilitator role rather than hoist up shots, the Mustangs' run-and-gun offense would normally be in trouble.
Not on this night.
Perez overcame a sluggish night shooting, scoring four points in overtime to finish with a game-leading 23 points in a 60-58 road win over the Hornets in West Suburban Gold play.
"I'm not trying to make excuses, but it was hard to play with the floor here," Perez said. "My game is quickness, and I struggled with the floor and just tried to get the ball to my teammates."
The Hornets (0-3, 0-1) forced overtime on Trey King's long 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation. Bobby Durkin paced the Hornets with 23 points, King hit three 3-pointers for nine points and Garrett Bolte had eight points and 11 rebounds. Junior point guard Deon Bomar matched Perez's quickness, helping the Hornets with his solid defense.
"I thought we had some guys really step up," Hinsdale South coach Brett Moore. "Deon Bomar has shown a bit of potential, but he stepped up. We've been desperate for a point guard. I was really impressed."
Gonzalez, who scored 36 points in a loss to Oak Park-River Forest on Tuesday, finished with just six points, but it was the play of sophomores Victor Garrett (nine points, seven rebounds) and Dakari Durham (nine points, 12 rebounds) and senior Josh Dowdell (12 points) that helped the Mustangs (1-2, 1-0) pull out the win.
"It feels good to have multiple scorers on the team," said Perez, also a star soccer player. "When one is having a bad day, like today, we know what the other players are capable of doing. It's important for everyone to step up and help us win."
The 6-foot-2 Dowdell, a powerful guard, showed an an ability to score on all three levels, attacking the glass for baskets and rebounds and hitting a 3-pointer.
"I'm more confident this year because I know the team needs me," Dowdell said. "I have to go out there and score to help the team, like tonight. I really l like to play defense, and believe in defense first than offense. I got myself going on defense and that helped my offense."
Morton coach Tony Martinucci praised Dowdell and his sophomore duo for stepping up.
"I thought Josh played good, and he stepped up and made his shot to help open up the lane," he said. "Dakari played good early and Victor got off to a good start."