Posted On: 12/10/18 11:27 AM
Morton’s veteran squad eventually pulled away over a young Washington team in Saturday’s 42-23 win.
The Potters (8-1, 3-0 in Mid-Illini) used a barrage of 3-point shooting spearheaded by Jarrett Crider, but it took awhile for him to get going.
Both teams endured long scoring droughts, especially early in the game but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s game.
1. Jarrett Crider is proving to be a top player in the Peoria area.
Jarrett Crider (2019) can score in a variety of ways, which was on display as he outscored Washington 25-23. He hit his first 3-pointer before missing his next five, but his 3-for-4 finish gave Morton the lift it needed to put away the game. Two of those were part of a 10-point run over a five-minute span to push Morton’s lead to 36-21 with 5:11 left in the game.
He used his quickness and change of speed to run in transition off a steal before Washington could set up its 1-3-1 zone, and even got an and-1 opportunity in the second quarter for Morton’s only field goal of the quarter. He was also fouled on a 3-point shot during the aforementioned run.
2. Washington’s time is coming.
Washington looked young and played like. Offensively the team was 7-for-27 and didn’t have a go-to-guy on offense until Gus Lucas (2022) began to be more aggressive in the second half. Even then the 6-foot-5 wing struggled to finish his shots, though he was 2-for-5 in the second half.
As a unit, Washington is still figuring things out and it will be scary when they do. Devon Vanderheydt (2021) is the only returning starter and looked to be in the flow of the game but couldn’t get shots to fall. He was just 1-for-5. Rickey Woods (2021) is the other sophomore that starts and only took 3-point shots. At 6-foot-2 he needs to become more comfortable with his ball-handling and work towards the basket against smaller defenders.
3. Morton is a polished machine.
The Potters are complete opposites in that they are experienced and disciplined in their sets. Eric Hanson (2019) is a true point guard and had two of his team’s six assists while also guarding Washington’s point guard. Olivet recruit Barik Olden (2019) let’s the game come to him, knowing where to find the open man and when to take it himself. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with five rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Morton exemplified great footwork defensively to stay in position, leading to several charge calls. Crider showed his lateral quickness and great positioning to get two steals and runouts, nearly missing several more.
4. Panthers zone is tough to navigate without shooters.
Morton has enough shooters to spread the floor against the 1-3-1 zone of Washington, but was only 5-for-20 on 3-point attempts. Opposing teams that don’t have multiple shooters will be in for trouble.
The Panthers let Woods use his 6-2 frame up front before lining up the 6-4 Vanderheydt, 6-5 Isaac Mapson (2022) and 6-5 Lucas behind him. Then the quick, 5-11 Drew Lewis (2022) patrols the baseline. This lineup provides length that makes it difficult to get the ball inside.
5. Morton has pieces to match up with versatile lineups.
Ollie Steffan (2020), Riley Richards (2020) and Grant Gudeman (2020) are complimentary pieces to Morton’s senior class. Steffan, a 5-10 guard, comes off the bench and can provide a defensive spark against quicker teams. At 6-5, Richards can defend opposing teams tallest players and the Potters only true big man, though he lacks in strength. He is gritty and will scrap for rebounds, doing the dirty work that others won’t. He had five rebounds, one block and an assist on Saturday. Gudeman fits in any lineup and played most of Saturday’s game on the wing. The 6-1 wing was 1-for-7 shooting on 3-point attempts but also grabbed five rebounds and had a block.
Lines of the night
Jarrett Crider (Sr., G, 5-10) – 25 points, 7-13/4-10/7-9, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist
Barik Olden (Sr., G, 6-6) – 10 points, 4-9/0-2/2-2, 5 rebounds 2 assists, 2 blocks
Drew Lewis (Fr., G, 5-11) – 9 points, 2-4/1-1/4-6, 3 rebounds
Gus Lucas (Fr., G, 6-5) – 6 points, 2-10/0-0/2-2, 2 rebounds