Potters back ahead in dynamic race

Bryan Veginski
Cannot be stopped: Brett Bisping, a Morton sophomore, looks to score Saturday despite the presence of East Peoria defender Robbie Rogers. A 62-53 boys basketball win lifted the Potters to 9-1 in the Mid-Illini Conference, good for a one-game lead over Washington.

The Morton boys basketball team made it 3-for-3 against Pekin.

A 47-39 road victory Feb. 2 over the Dragons was the Potters’ third of the year and second in the Mid-Illini Conference.

It was not easy at the Dragons’ Dawson Hawkins Gymnasium, as Morton needed a 16-7 margin in the fourth quarter to overtake the home team.

Potter Will Headean, recently back from injury, had his biggest game of the season with 14 points. He made four three-pointers.

Brett Bisping led Morton with a game-high 16 points.

Both teams were exceptional at the free-throw line, going a combined 26-of-30. The Potters, led by Tyler Lundeen’s 5-for-5 effort, were 12-of-14.

Lundeen also was in double figures with 11 points.

Morton moved into first place alone after Washington lost at home to Canton on the same night.

Kain Hoeniges and Tom Lohmann had 11 points apiece for Pekin. Aaron King added 10.

MHS 50, Woodruff 42

The Potters won in Peoria Friday in the final basketball game between the schools, barring an unexpected postseason run by the Warriors.

Morton moved to 10-1 this year at away or neutral sites after emerging from a 22-17 halftime deficit.

Bisping again topped all scorers with 15 points.

Lundeen chipped in 13 against the Mid-State 6 Conference’s last-place team.

Three more Potters had at least five points.

Trey Dorsey guided Woodruff with 13 points.

MHS 62, East Peoria 53

The Potters maintained a one-game lead in the conference race with their sixth consecutive win overall.

Morton (16-2, 9-1) never trailed at the Potterdome Saturday in sweeping the Raiders for the regular season.

“That was a good test. The kids executed pretty well,” MHS head coach Steve Schupp said. “A lesser performance would have had us doomed.”

Lundeen paced the Potters with 14 points, 13 of which came after halftime.

Voeller and Bisping finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively. They had 10 apiece in the first half.

Voeller and Bisping combined for Morton’s first nine points.

An Adam Kumpf three made it 12-2 at the 2:31 mark of the first quarter.

The guests, meanwhile, were plagued by eight turnovers in the first eight minutes.

East Peoria got within 17-14 in the second period before a 10-1 Potter spree.

Drake Taphorn and Bisping dialed long distance while Morton held the Raiders without a basket for more than three minutes.

A 7-0 run to start the second half gave East Peoria new life and a minor deficit of 29-25.

But an immediate seven straight points, five from Lundeen, restored the Potters’ 11-point advantage.

Morton consistently got the ball inside to shoot nearly 60 percent from the field.

“Good ball movement found guys wide open under the basket and got us good shots,” said Schupp.

Kumpf made a nice putback as the third quarter wound down, grasping the ball with one hand and, in the same motion, going back up to make the shot.

The Raiders did not get any closer than  nine points in the fourth quarter as the teams played to an 18-18 draw in that segment.

Headean had six of his eight points in the fourth.

The Potters did a solid job on East Peoria’s top two scorers, Dylan Sparkman and Alex Cline.

Sparkman had six points, none in the second half. Cline was scoreless in the first half before tallying 11 after intermission.

Three-year Raider point guard Joe Kelch, who did not start, sank four treys to collect 12 points.

Schupp said Morton still is striving to get better and he feels the team’s best play is yet to come.

Schupp joined the long list of Potter personnel hampered by injuries and illnesses this season.

He had surgery last week to repair a biceps tendon, leaving his right arm in a sling.

Washington stayed one game back in the M-I after the Panthers prevailed at Dunlap on the same night.