PLANO — Was it an upset?
Maybe ... maybe not.
Whatever ... it was an unbelievable win that the Morris Redskins in Day 2 of the 50th Annual Boys Basketball Christmas Classic Wednesday afternoon.
Down by seven points with under two minutes to play, Morris rallied to pull out a dramatic 61-60 victory over the Indian Creek Timberwolves to advance in the championship bracket.
"It's an odd feeling," noted Redskins coach Joe Blumberg afterward. "The guys were sitting with their heads down in the locker room because we know we did not play up to our potential. To play up to your potential and still lose leaves a sour taste in your mouth. But we
were able to pull it out, although I know the guys know we need to play a lot better tomorrow."
Looming ahead for Morris is a 5:30 p.m. game today against top seed and defending champion Belvidere.
Indian Creek, a Little Ten squad that falls to 9-2 on the season, went up 58-51 with 1:51 to go on an offensive rebound basket by 6-9 junior center Garrison Govig. The lone Timberwolves points thereafter were single free throws by senior guard Kyle Lieving and junior guard Noah
The Redskins rallied as senior guard Jason Matteson hit a charity toss before a Jake Hogan basket (thanks to an offensive board by Austin Patterson) and another by senior forward Ben Ortiz (set up by an offensive rebound of his own miss).
Indian Creek then called a pair of timeouts while trying vainly to get the ball back in play. The resultant in-bounds pass was knocked away before Ortiz recovered and converted a 3-point play with 5.7 seconds showing.
"Coach said in the huddle that they (the Timberwolves) would probably try to lob the ball over the top to him (Govig)," said Ortiz. "But I think he got too close to the basket. We got a hand it and I just went up with it."
Any thoughts while standing at the charity stripe?
"I missed a late free throw earlier in the year in a close game against Kaneland," Ortiz said. "We have lost a couple of close games but I tried just to block that out and concentrate on making the free throw."
"It helped us by having them burn their timeouts," said Blumberg. "Then we knew they had to go the length of the floor to beat us."
Ortiz had 24 points and Matteson a dozen for Morris, now 4-3. Ortiz collected a double-double by also latching onto 14 rebounds (nine defensive). Evan Bjelland tacked on nine markers via a trio of treys.
It was tied 27-27 at half with Ortiz and Bjelland tossing in nine markers each for the Redskins. Todd had 11 for Indian Creek with Govin ending with 10.
"We had more focus in the third and fourth quarters," said Ortiz. "We also got a couple of big treys."
The Redskins had a half dozen treys, three by Bjelland and two from Matteson. Todd gunned in seven for the Timberwolves.