LA GRANGE – Morton’s boys basketball team didn’t have a Thanksgiving hangover. In fact, the Mustangs had quite the opposite over the weekend.
Morton struggled in many facets of the game in a blowout loss against Fenwick in the season opener on Nov. 27. The Mustangs lost 77-59 in a game where the Friars jumped ahead by 12 at the end of the first quarter and led by double digits the rest of the way.
“We missed so many layups that we dug ourselves a hole early and we missed free throws,” Morton head coach Tony Martinucci said. “The way they call the game now, you got to make your free throws.”
The Mustangs were 9-for-24 from the free throw line against the Friars. Martinucci said the only positive was that the team didn’t quit and kept playing hard until the end.
After Thanksgiving, Morton rattled off three straight wins in three days. The run began on Friday when the Mustangs beat tournament host Lyons Township 82-79 in overtime with 26 points from Weisner Perez.
It was the Lions’ only loss at their own tournament. LT went on to win the tournament via tiebreaker after LT, Morton and Fenwick all went 2-1 in the four-team round-robin field.
Morton finished with a 71-42 win over Argo on Saturday. The next day they headed to Curie for the Team Rose Shootout and beat Homewood-Flossmoor 63-60. The Vikings are traditionally one of the best teams in the state and feature 6-foot-8 center Tai Odiase, who signed with Illinois-Chicago.
“The coach blew it in the Fenwick game,” Martinucci said, mocking himself. “We thought when [Fenwick] lost [guard Luke] Lattner we thought we could pressure them.”
Martinucci still lamented a cold-shooting start and the missed free throws, but Fenwick’s bevy of quality, quick guards had no trouble running with the Mustangs. Morton was able to go to zone against H-F and got big performances from guard Greg Carter and forward Weisner Perez.
“It’s a little different when you can score,” Martinucci said. “That was it really. If we had a chance to do it all over again I wouldn’t press [Fenwick].
“We just did a better job of putting the kids where they could be successful and Greg made shots. Weisner’s really going to be good. Greg made his shots and that opened it up for Weisner.”
The Mustangs next play Dec. 13 at Willowbrook.
Morton season-opening results
Fenwick 77, Morton 59 Morton 82, Lyons Township 79 (OT) Morton 71, Argo 42 Morton 63, Homewood-Flossmoor 60