Morris and Seneca on collision course
Morris senior guard Jason Matteson caught about as bad a break as it gets for a high school athlete this past spring.
"I was diving back into first base when the catcher threw down to first and the first baseman's cleat came down between my pinkie and ring fingers," he said of the injury that ended his baseball season.
Not only did it scuttle the end of his junior season, but it set him back in regards to being able to participate in the summer athletic schedule.
"I've been lifting to keep my legs strong, though I haven't been able to run," he said. "And I was shooting left handed in practice."
Having Matteson back in the lineup this week seems to have helped pay dividends for the Redskins as they went 2-0 at the Braidwood Shootout on Friday.
"We knew coming into this (Shootout) that we'd have a good chance," Matteson said. "Having lost four times in our own shootout and having to work it from seven to seven, we were looking forward to coming in here to have fun and just play basketball."
"Playing is always more fun than working," Morris coach Joe Bloomberg agreed.
Bloomberg said that one of the most important things about summer ball is "seeing how the guys respond when the other team goes on a run", indicating "things like that are more important than the final score." However, he also acknowledged that the team never like to lose.
"I'm happy for the kids. Summer or not, losing is not fun," Bloomberg said. "We took some beatings in our own Shootout and the kids were working 10-11 hour days, so to be on the other end of things is nice for the kids."
With the core of the Seneca basketball team returning from a year ago, the Fighting Irish as also finding it nice to be on the right end of the scorekeeping ledger. Once again under the guidance of Russell Witte, Seneca has been quite busy this summer, playing in shootouts including: Clifton Central, Monmouth, West Aurora, Joliet West, Purdue and Valdalia before landing in Braidwood. The Irish finished second at Valdalia, losing only to Riverton on a tip-in at the buzzer of the championship contest.
"It is what it is," Witte said. "I told the kids that I have seen them play at their best and I know where they are at."
Witte mentioned that his "top 6-7 kids are all back from last year" and that the turnout of the team has been quite good all summer long averaging between 14-17 kids for each showing.
"We have a lot of kids who want to be part of something good right now," Witte said.
Seneca went 2-0 on Friday to earn a meeting with Morris on Saturday at 3 p.m. The winner of that game will find itself in the final four of the Shootout.
"I look forward to playing Seneca," Matteson said. "A lot of guys on the team have played against the guys from Seneca. We're friends and it's always fun to play people that you know."