By Brian Nielsen
Just because Mattoon’s game plan was to feed Samuel Bradbury and Mount Zion’s defense held the 6-foot-9 post player scoreless in the first quarter, don’t jump to the wrong conclusion.
“We wanted to go inside to Sam but they took that away,” Green Wave coach Ryan Ghere said. “But Mason Wright had a heckuva first quarter and Josiah (Morton) shot well. We took what they gave us.”
That turned out to be plenty.
With Morton getting eight of his 15 points in the first quarter, Mattoon took an early lead and never trailed in Friday’s 68-48 Apollo Conference boys’ basketball win at the Wave’s gym.
“Oh yeah, it’s good to hit some shots early,” said Morton, who scored the game’s first basket and added a 3-pointer within the first 2 1/2 minutes. “It gets your blood going. But I’m not just looking for me. I’m looking for my teammates, too.”
Yes, Mattoon was all about balance in this one.
Dalton Compton led the way with 19 points, Morton tied his season high with 15, Wright added 11, Cam’Ron Thomas got all 10 of his points in the second half and Bradbury almost gave the Wave five double-figure scorers, finishing with nine points.
“If you look back at the games we’ve won, we’ve had that balance,” Ghere said. “I thought we did a real nice job.”
This win gives the Green Wave a 10-14 overall record and a 3-7 Apollo mark going into a 1 p.m. Saturday non-conference contest against Terre Haute North at the Teutopolis Shootout.
Granted, this latest win was against a Mount Zion team the Wave had already beaten 75-39 in December and now stands just 6-22 and 1-9.
But the Braves’ conference win was over Apollo contender Effingham recently so this was no automatic.
“We stayed pretty prepared,” Morton said. “We looked at what they did offensively and defensively. We based our play on what they did.”
With full-court pressure paying immediate dividends including a 10-second violation right after a Mount Zion timeout, Mattoon grabbed a 9-0 lead.
The Braves responded with their own 6-0 run and eventually pulled within 15-13 before Morton hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter and Wright’s scoop shot made it 20-13 after one period.
Bradbury got his first points early in the second quarter and with 3:27 still left in the first half the Wave had a commanding 35-21 lead.
The fourth quarter included a dunk by reserve center Alex Yardley, who got a nice pass from Morton.
“The big thing is Josiah had a big first half and Cam(‘Ron Thomas) took over in the second half,” Ghere said. “I said to Cam on the bench you didn’t score a lot of points, but you played well. He got the ball to other guys and let the game come to him. If there’s one good thing about Meade (Johnson) getting hurt, it’s that it’s forced other guys to handle the ball and that will help us next year.”
MATTOON: Thomas 4 0-0 10, Morton 6 0-0 15, Carter-Smith 0 0-0 0, Middleton 0 0-0 0, Compton 7 3-4 19, Wright 4 3-3 11, Faulkner 0 0-0 0, Farmer 0 0-0 0, Bergstrom 0 0-0 0, Yardley 2 0-2 4, Bradbury 4 1-2 9, Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 7-11 68
3-pointers: Thomas 2, Morton 3, Compton 2.
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