Haynes-to-Morris alley-oop keys 2nd-half NP surge

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SHELBYVILLE — The way Michael Morris saw it, it was time to put up, or shut up.

New Palestine called timeout trailing 37-36 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. Its four-point halftime lead was gone, with Shelbyville scoring 11 of the third quarter’s first 17 points.

Morris took a swig of water, turned to injured senior guard Justin Ikerd and said, “I’m tired of this.”

The senior forward had 11 points at that juncture, and Morris would go on to score 19 points in the game’s final 11 minutes and 42 seconds — including 18 of NP’s 20 points late in the third quarter to the middle of the fourth — to lead the Dragons to a 66-52 victory at Shelbyville Friday night.

Morris finished with 31 points — two more than his total vs. Yorktown last Friday and six less than his career-best set in the season opener against Jennings County — to pace the red and white to its first victory in Garrett Gymnasium since Jan. 27, 2007.

“It was just too close for me, so I started shooting when I had an open shot,” said Morris, who went 11-of-18 from the field. “And they started falling in the second half.”

NP (12-4, 6-0 Hoosier Heritage Conference) led 21-18 after a quarter thanks to nine points on 3-of-3 shooting by reserve Seth Cox, but after Cox went to the bench with foul trouble early in the second quarter, the Dragons struggled to match the Golden Bears’ physicality, and were ahead just 30-26 at intermission.

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