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Monday, January 16, 2012

Streaks Lose Big to Morton

A great run by Galesburg ended with a 60-38 loss to Morton on Monday at Knox College. Things started out tough with Morton scoring the first 15 points of the day. The Streaks managed to cut things back to a 10 point margin at the end of the third quarter, only to see Morton go on another run.

The following is Mike Trueblood's story on the game.


 Starting last Thursday, if you’d have asked die-hard Galesburg High School girls basketball fans if they’d be happy with three wins in their next four games, it would have been difficult to find anyone not pleased with that prospect.

That might have been important to remember after Morton dominated Galesburg 60-38 in a Martin Luther King Tournament game Monday afternoon after both teams entered the game tied with the No. 8 state ranking in Class 3A.

The Silver Streaks (18-4) came into the game after beating tough Western Big 6 foe Moline last Thursday, then knocked off No. 6 ranked Peoria Central and No. 2 ranked Champaign Centennial on Saturday, the latter a 71-70 thriller that ended the day.

“We had a great game Saturday night. Today we didn’t,” said Galesburg coach Evan Massey. “Our offense let us down. I definitely think their length bothered us.

Morton (18-2), led by 6-1 junior Sarah Livingston, featured a starting lineup with four players 5-10 or better against a Streaks team that lists 5-9 Emma Junk and 5-8 Sadee Hamilton as its tallest regulars. And the Potters seemed to sacrifice nothing in quickness.

“It takes some great kids,” said Morton coach Bob Becker of how his team held the Streaks to 38 points — just like they did last season in the MLK tourney. “They were committed to guarding the heck out of them.

“Our length was enough to contest the threes and yet not get beat off the dribble.”

Morton started the game on a 15-0 run from which the Streaks never recovered. The Potters pressured the Streaks to 2-for-16 shooting in the first half, allowed just five first-half 3-point attempts and held one of the Streaks top scorers, Jessica Lieber, to no shot attempts over the first two quarters.

On the offensive end, Morton only attempted one shot outside the paint and that was a long-range heave just before the buzzer ended the third quarter.

“That’s the game we play and the girls buy into it,” said Becker.

The Potters led 34-15 at the half.

“Obviously they’re one of the better defensive teams we’ve played,” said Massey.

“We were decent defensively but offensively we’re like the Chicago Bears. Our offense has to play well enough to not put our defense in holes.”

To their credit, Galesburg showed plenty of intensity after halftime and boosted by a 4-point play from Hannah Smith, a 3-point play by Lieber and a 3-pointer from Paige Klinck, cut the gap to 38-28 about halfway through the fourth quarter. But that was as close as the Streaks could get.

“We cut it to 10 points but we had too many possessions where we came up dry,” said Massey. “I think we had seven possessions in a row where we had no baskets and that’s the thing that killed us.

“Our defense wasn’t the issue. At this level, you can’t go that many possessions and come up dry.”

Livingston and Cortney Allenbaugh each scored 21 points to lead Morton.

Sharron Diggins hit 9 of 10 free throws while scoring 14 points for Galesburg. She was the only player in double figures.

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