BARTLETT – Experienced high school coaches Tony Martinucci and Vince Doran both said Tuesday's Morton-York game was as exciting as any they've been a part of.
Greg Carter's heroics ultimately gave Morton a 77-74 triple overtime victory over York in the Bartlett sectional semifinal. Carter scored 35 points, including two free throws to tie the game with no time left on the clock at the end of the first overtime.
"I told them I wasn’t going to let us lose," Carter said. "My coach said even if we went down he wants the ball in my hands so I just tried to deliver.”
Morton advances to play in Friday's sectional final against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between Proviso East and Glenbard North.
At first it didn't look like it would be a tight game. Morton (22-5) led 8-0 before York (25-6) battled back to take a 23-22 lead late in the second quarter. Then the Mustangs used a hot-shooting third quarter to lead 46-30 after three quarters.
The Dukes charged back with a 13-0 run and eventually tied the game at 51-51 on a layup by Jack Heinle and the game went to overtime.
At the end of the first overtime Jayvon Thomas made two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Dukes a 59-57 lead. Carter drove the floor and was fouled with no time left. He drained both free throws.
“I tried not to be nervous because when you’re nervous you put more pressure on yourself so I tried to just go up there and relax," Carter said. "If I missed them it was on me, I would take that.”
In the second overtime Carter drove for a layup with five seconds left to tie the game at 65-65.
Morton finally earned some separation in the third extra period. The Mustangs led 74-67, but York came back again despite having starters Frank Toohey and Stanley Roberts fouled out. Even after a third player, Thomas, fouled out York was able to come back to earn a chance to tie at the buzzer, but Charlie Rose's shot came up short.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and I think that was one of the greatest games that I’ve ever seen," Morton coach Tony Martinucci said.
In addition to Carter's 35, Jarvis Cannon and Weisner Perez each scored 14 points for Morton.
Thomas led York with 18 points. Roberts had 17 points and Toohey added 15.
“It was a great high school game," York coach Vince Doran said. "It’s unfortunate to be on this side of it. I couldn’t be prouder of my team.
"It’s the toughest loss I’ve ever been associated with.”