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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Potters win conference in runaway

  • Morton held its eighth consecutive girls basketball foe under 35 points Jan. 29.

    The Potters remained perfect in the Mid-Illini Conference and ended Dunlap's five-game league winning streak.
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  • Morton held its eighth consecutive girls basketball foe under 35 points Jan. 29.
    The Potters remained perfect in the Mid-Illini Conference and ended Dunlap's five-game league winning streak.
    With four different players providing at least eight points, Morton rolled to a 43-24 victory over the visiting Eagles.
    Potter Sarah Livingston led all scorers with 12 points.
    Kate Byrne also was in double figures for Morton with 10 points, while Chandler Ryan connected on three 3-pointers to tally nine and Abbie Cox had eight points.
    The Potters put away Dunlap and achieved an M-I sweep with a 10-3 margin in the fourth quarter.
    Brianna Henson and Damilola Taiwo had a paltry six points to guide the Eagles.
    MHS 55, Canton 38
    The Potters won their third consecutive outright M-I championship and fourth in the last five years.
    Morton led from start to finish Thursday guided for the first time by assistant Bill Davis, who stepped up from the sophomore level to fill in for one game for head coach Bob Becker.
    The Potters' conference victory string, which dates back to the 2010-11 season, was not at the forefront for the team.
    "I said, '... You're playing for your coach, who would do anything for any of you,'" Davis said. "He does so much for each and every kid."
    Becker was attending his father-in-law's visitation/funeral.
    With Davis directing the varsity for the first time in his 14 years on the staff, Rodney Knuppel coached the Morton sophomore squad.
    Livingston was 7-of-8 from the floor for a game-high 19 points. She also shared rebounding honors with teammate Emily Schultz with seven.
    The Potters had a terrific shooting game, making 19-of-33 shots (.576).
    The trio of Byrne, Ryan and Livingston combined for all of Morton's first-quarter points as the guests led 17-11.
    A deuce by Livingston and trey by Byrne gave the Potters a quick 5-0 lead inside Alice Ingersoll Gymnasium.
    In between the first two baskets, Canton's Michaela Kumer, an obvious first-team all-conference candidate, sustained a blow near her right eye that forced her to miss most of the opening period while Lady Giant personnel tried to get the bleeding stopped.
    Morton, which remained No. 6 in the Jan. 30 Associated Press Class 3A state poll, was ahead 11-4 at the 4:35 mark after a Ryan 3 and Byrne hoop.
    Cloe Churchill, another high-profile Canton player, kept the hosts in range with six of her team-best 16 points in the first quarter.
    Immediately after Kumer came back in, she made a triple to answer Ryan's long-distance make. That was Kumer's only bucket until 2:36 left in the fourth period of a nine-point outing.
    "I've appreciated her career for four years," said Davis of Kumer.
    Page 2 of 3 - Just eight seconds after checking in to start the second quarter, Morton's Madie Kraft and Savannah Rhodes forced a Lady Giant turnover.
    The Potters soon after embarked on an 11-0 run with points from four different players to take a 15-point lead with 3:21 left until halftime.
    Emma Heisler started the surge with a 3 before 2-pointers by Livingston and Ryan.
    Bella Jackson came in and made an immediate impact with a field goal, followed 37 seconds later by two free throws.
    Morton hit a rough patch, but Byrne restored a double-digit advantage, 30-19, with two free throws with 7.6 seconds remaining in the first half.
    The only thing the Potters struggled with on the night was turnovers as they committed 27, including 16 in the second half.
    Morton surged on top 40-23 after a 7-0 burst midway through the third quarter.
    Ryan, who shot 4-of-6 to tally 11 points, made her third 3 before Cox sank a jumper that led to a timeout.
    "Chandler played a real good ballgame," said Davis of the freshman.
    After play resumed, Livingston extended the run with an old-fashioned three-point play.
    Cox scored again before the period expired and also lobbed a beautiful pass to Livingston for an easy basket.
    Another Livingston three-point play, preceding a Cox field goal, created the biggest Potter lead at 49-29 with 6:31 to go in the game.
    Canton never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way as it sustained its second straight M-I loss.
    Byrne had eight points and Cox six.
    The rest of the Lady Giants, other than Churchill, made only seven shots.
    MHS 59, Pekin 29
    The Potters blasted the Dragons Friday to move one step closer to a second straight perfect M-I season.
    Morton (24-4, 13-0) won its 12th consecutive game overall and 32nd in a row in conference play.
    Livingston, Ashley Gilles and manager Stephanie Walter were recognized on a Senior Night in which the Potters led 40-19 after outscoring Pekin 18-7 in the third quarter.
    Livingston's 18 points topped all scorers.
    Nine players provided offense for Morton, including Ryan with 12 points and Cox with eight.
    Katie Powell had eight points to guide the Dragons.
    The Potters finished the season 12-2 on their home floor with wins in their last 10 games.
    Postseason: Next week, Morton begins its quest for another extended playoffs run.
    The top-seeded Potters' postseason opener is at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Bloomington Central Catholic Regional against either Washington or Bloomington, who square off Monday.
    No. 2 seed BCC plays in the other semifinal Tuesday against either Normal University or Metamora, who also collide in a Monday quarterfinal.
    Page 3 of 3 - The regional final is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

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