- Val T.
Keep coming back for ‘Morr:’ J.J. scores 17, leads Argos to sectional semis
Stults’ 12 includes clutch FTs, Richard scores 10
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
BOURBON — The Argos boys basketball team needed J.J. Morris’ passing in the first half. They needed his scoring in the second.
They got both, and they needed it all to pull off a 50-49 win over Triton in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinal at the Trojan Trench Wednesday.
Morris scored 12 of Argos’ 14 points in the fourth quarter, and he finished with a team-high 17. That included two free throws with 1:55 left that put Argos ahead for good at 48-47. Morris also had a team-high seven assists, all of which came in the first half.
Luke Stults added 12 points, including two clutch free throws with 1:00 left that stretched the lead to 50-47. Sean Richard had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Argos made all 10 of their free throws in the second half and went 13 for 16 for the game. Triton made just one of six from the line.
Cole Shively scored a game-high 23 points for Triton, but he missed a fall-away jumper at the buzzer that would have won it.
Argos improved to 15-7 and will meet No. 10 Marquette Catholic in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday. Marquette Catholic dismissed Westville 82-69 in Wednesday’s second quarterfinal.
This marked the third time in the last five years that Argos knocked Triton out of the sectional on Triton’s home floor.
Triton, who was seeking its third straight sectional title, finished 12-11.
Shively hit a 13-foot jumper over Richard to get Triton within 50-49 with 40.7 seconds left. Triton coach Jason Groves called timeout.
Argos advanced the ball past midcourt before coach Jason Breden called a 30-second timeout with 30.1 seconds left.
Argos continued to work the clock before a pass from Morris intended for Richard was deflected out of bounds with 12.9 seconds left. Did it last touch Richard or Shively?
The baseline official indicated that it was off Richard. Then the three officials conferred and agreed that it was Triton’s ball.
Shively advanced the ball past halfcourt, and Triton called their final timeout with 9.9 seconds left. The ball was inbounded to Shively, and Morris hand-checked Shively and was called for Argos’ sixth team foul with 6.4 seconds left.
Anthony Schuh then inbounded to Dante Workman, who ran a weave play for Shively.
“Stop Cole,” a smiling Morris said of what he was thinking defensively. “You knew he was getting it. You just had to make it as hard as you could. He’s a good player. He’s going to get to his spot, and you’ve just got to contest it and make it hard on him.”
Morris went under the screen and jumped at Shively as Richard came to help. The shot hit the left side of the rim, and the buzzer sounded as Schuh and Stults battled for the rebound, which set off an Argos celebration at midcourt.
“We wanted to make them earn it,” Breden said. “We didn’t want to give a cheap foul. Being only up one, if you foul him, he’s going to the free throw line. I thought he had a good look, but I also thought we made him earn it because he settled for a jumper rather than getting straight to the rim. So the key thing was we didn’t want him getting to the rim and putting some pressure on the refs to make a call. We just wanted him to have to make a shot from the outside.”
Argos led 25-23 at halftime, and neither team led by more than four points in the second half.
When Schuh – he was the only substitute used by either team – hit a pullup banker to give Triton a 44-40 lead, Argos resorted to more Morris.
He hit a leaner over Workman and was fouled with 4:11 left and sunk the free throw to complete the 3-point play. It was 44-43.
After Schuh was called for an illegal screen foul, the 6-6 Morris converted another 3-point play, hitting a driving floater in the lane over the 6-0 Workman with 3:46 left and adding the free throw.
Argos led 46-44.
Workman split a pair of free throws with 3:15 left to cut the lead to one.
After Nate Manikowski missed a 3, Shively hit a turnaround jumper over Morris with 2:18 left to put Triton back ahead at 47-46.
Triton freshman guard Julian Swanson fouled Morris as he accepted a bounce pass near the baseline with 1:55 left.
After Morris hit his free throws, Swanson missed a 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Morris rebounded, and Schuh fouled Stults in front of the Argos bench as he appeared to limp.
After a Triton timeout, Stults made both free throws. The lead was three.
“I just told him, ‘You’ve got your breath. You’re good to go. Knock them in,’” Breden said of what he told Stults during the timeout. “I’ll be honest. The credit goes to Luke, you know. I can teach him the form, but at the end of the day, he’s the one that does it.”
Triton came out in a box-in-one defense with the 5-7 Swanson guarding Morris and the other four Trojans in a zone. Morris picked it apart with passes, finding Stults flashing in the post or Manikowski for a 3 or Richard for a reverse layup in traffic.
Breden surmised that Morris’ passing and Elijah Osborn’s two made 3-pointers might have finally pushed Triton out of the box-in-one and into a man-to-man.
“He really utilized his passing, and he set his teammates up for scoring opportunities, and they did, so he was just being a very unselfish teammate, and we had guys that stepped up,” Breden said of Morris.
In fact, Argos built a 21-12 lead before Morris scored his first point.
“In the first half, all the passes were wide open, and they were really clamping down on me,” Morris said. “I don’t know. Maybe things opened up, and they changed their game plan. I got opened up a little bit, and things just kind of went my way. … I think they switched up and just went closer to man, so I didn’t have as much pressure when I put the ball on the floor. It wasn’t, like, three guys.
“It was a good game. Things happened to go our way.”
Shively went on a bucket-getting tear in the second quarter, scoring 11 of Triton’s 13 points, and when he hit a 15-footer just before the horn, the Argos lead was down to 25-23.
The win might have been a testament to the Dragons’ mental toughness. Even after the out-of-bounds call went against them with 12.9 seconds left, they got the needed defensive stop.
“Even when I took over the program, that was a priority,” Breden, who is in his second season as coach, said. “I told the guys when a questionable call was made on if it was off us or off them, a lot of teams would have found an excuse to lose. We found a way to win.”
Argos 50, Triton 49
TRITON (49) (12-11)
Dante Workman 3 1-2 7, Julian Swanson 1 0-0 3, Cole Shively 11 0-1 23, Evan Briles 2 0-0 4, Jacob Pitney 2 0-3 6, Anthony Schuh 3 0-0 6
TEAM: 22 1-6 49
ARGOS (50) (15-7)
Nate Manikowski 2 0-0 5, Sean Richard 4 2-2 10, Elijah Osborn 2 0-0 6, J.J. Morris 5 7-8 17, Luke Stults 4 4-6 12
TEAM: 17 13-16 50
Three-point field goals:
Triton 4 (Pitney 2, Shively, Swanson),
Argos 3 (Osborn 2, Manikowski)
Total fouls: Triton 11, Argos 11
Turnovers: Triton 6, Argos 6
Score by quarters
Triton 10 13 15 11 – 49
Argos 14 11 11 14 – 50
Marquette Catholic 82, Westville 69
Jason Kobe scored 43 points, and Lukas Balling scored 24 points and hauled down 25 rebounds to lead No. 10 Marquette Catholic past Westville 82-69 in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinal at Triton Wednesday.
Javion Ballin led Westville with 25 points and nine rebounds. Brian Jackson had 18, and Kaden Pepper notched 13 points and nine rebounds.
Played at high speed by the 6-1 Kobe’s rim runs and Balling’s board mastery, the game featured 131 combined field goal attempts, 40 fouls and 39 turnovers.
By comparison, the Triton-Argos game that preceded it featured 83 field goal attempts, 22 fouls and 12 turnovers.
Marquette Catholic improved to 17-7 and will meet Argos in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday.
Oregon-Davis will take on Culver in the first semifinal at 6:30 p.m.
Westville, playing their first game after coach Drew Eubank resigned five days ago, finished 16-8.
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC (82) (17-7)
Cameron Best 0 0-0 0, Gary Lewis 1 0-0 2, Jason Kobe 15 11-16 43, Connor Bakota 4 0-2 8, Lukas Balling 10 4-5 24, J.J. Welch 0 0-0 0, Brandon Welch 1 0-0 2, Adam Tarnow 1 0-0 3
TEAM: 32 15-23 82
WESTVILLE (69) (16-8)
Javion Ballin 9 3-5 25, Gavin Hannon 4 1-2 9, Brian Jackson 8 2-7 18, Kaleb Pepper 2 0-0 4, Kaden Pepper 5 2-4 13, Cole Swanson 0 0-0 0, Jackson Stacy 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 28 8-18 69
Three-point field goals:
Marquette Catholic 3 (Kobe 2, Tarnow),
Westville 5 (Ballin 4, Kaden Pepper)
Total fouls: Marquette Catholic 20, Westville 20
Fouled out: Best (MQT), Kaleb Pepper (WV)
Turnovers: Marquette Catholic 17, Westville 22
Score by quarters
Marquette Catholic 16 22 19 25 – 82
Westville 13 20 19 17 – 69