The third is just as sweet as the previous two for the Morton Lady Potters.
Sectional championships, that is.
Morton defeated Normal University 58-42 Thursday night at the Class 3A Bartonville Limestone Sectional championship game to win its third straight sectional title.
Brandi Bisping led the Lady Potters in scoring with 17 points and Josi Becker added 16 points, but the latter controlled the game for Morton.
As Morton’s point guard, Becker ran the offense to “perfection” all night, and made clutch free throws at the end of the game.
“(Josi) is an awesome point guard, player and competitor,” Bob Becker said of his daughter. “She is an extension of our coaches on the floor and what you saw tonight is what she does everyday — perfection. She wasn’t going to be denied a sectional championship.”
For Josi, the key in victory was Morton’s tenacity on defense and the ability to control the glass.
“(U-High’s) defense is so good, but everyone on our team stepped up and played really well on offense,” Josi Becker said. “We needed to continue getting rebounds after rebounds and that’s what we did to pull out the victory.”
The Lady Potters used runs at the end of the first and second quarters to establish a healthy 10-point lead at halftime.
With 1:18 remaining in the first quarter, Morton held a 9-8 advantage.
However, Caissidy Shurman nailed a 3-pointer and Bisping added a bucket before the end of the period to give Morton a 14-8 lead after one.
Then in the second quarter, the Lady Potters used a 7-0 run behind Josi Becker.
With 1:10 left on the clock before halftime, Josi Becker made a layup, and with 29 seconds remaining, added a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.
The following U-High possession resulted in a missed shot with four seconds left in the quarter.
Bisping corralled the rebound and drove the length of the floor for a layup with time expiring.
“One of Coach Becker’s favorite things to do is to have us end quarters with the last shot,” Bisping said. “Those (baskets) really helped us going into the next quarter strong.”
Morton took a 25-15 lead into the intermission.
The Lady Potters pressure did not let up after the break.
Becker hit another 3-pointer with 7:10 left in the third quarter and had the play of the night a few minutes later.
With 2:08 remaining in the third, the point guard possessed a defensive rebound, drove the length of the floor and dished to Tenley Dowell for an and-1 layup.
“I just had to play my game and keep kicking it out to my teammates and they looked for me in return,” Josi Becker said. “Keeping control of the game was my priority tonight.”
The Lady Potters closed out the third with a 12-2 run to hold a 20-point lead heading into the final period (43-23).
Morton spread the floor in the fourth and ran clock effectively, converting on 9-of-11 free throws to earn a 58-42 victory.
Coach Becker believes that the back-to-back state champions have drawn from their experiences in previous years to help face adversity.
“The experiences that our kids have been through helps us on this stage and at this level,” Bob Becker said. “Our kids have so much fire and desire. I’m really proud of them.”
Josi Becker said that the team drew off the energy of the traveling Morton support.
“Our fans are so awesome, and this was such a huge crowd,” Josi Becker said. “Three more wins.”
That is the goal for Morton, who advances to the Manlius Bureau Valley Supersectional.
The Lady Potters will play Stillman Valley Monday night at 7 p.m.
“We are dialed and locked in,” Bob Becker said. “We have tasted Redbird a few times and they want to get back.“