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Mo' Morris, mo' problems for Yorktown

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NEW PALESTINE — Yorktown coach Greg Miller allowed himself a moment of levity after inadvertent buzzer stopped play with his team down double digits late in the fourth quarter at New Palestine Friday night.

“Can you do that when No. 44 (NP’s Michael Morris) is shooting, please?” requested Miller to no one in particular.

The Tigers simply could not stop Morris, or his teammate Ryan Curry. The pair almost outscored the visitors themselves, combining for 51 points in the Dragons’ 70-55 victory.

With the win, NP (11-4, 5-0 Hoosier Heritage Conference) moved atop the HHC standings — at least for one night.

Morris finished with 29 points, eight short of the career-high he set in the team’s opener vs. Jennings County back in November. And if lighting up the scoreboard wasn’t enough, Morris was also named Winter Homecoming King at halftime.

“King Michael had a nice night,” quipped NP coach Adam Barton, whose sectional-winning 2011-12 squad also started 11-4. “Not a bad night at all.”

Trailing 51-37 midway through the quarter, Yorktown embarked on an 8-0 run that ventured 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.

But with the margin at 59-49 and under four minutes remaining in regulation, Morris and Curry — along with some help from Solomon Haynes — combined to deliver the knockout punch.

Haynes found Morris for a jumper, then located Curry for open triples on back-to-back possessions, lifting the Dragons’ advantage to 67-49 and forcing Miller to call timeout.

“Most definitely,” commented Barton when asked if that 8-0 spurt was the game’s turning point. “We’ve been talking about getting better every day, and that’s the one thing we haven’t gotten better it in a game — putting people away.”

New Palestine shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the first half. The hosts led 21-17 after a quarter and 40-34 at intermission.

The Tigers hung in early by lighting it up from beyond the arc, as five of its first six made field goals were 3-pointers.

Morris notched 16 points in the first two quarters before his royal appointment. He barely had time to run into the locker room and remove his crown before the start of the second half.

But, if the limited rest affected Morris, it didn’t show as he scored six of NP’s first 11 points of the third quarter.

Curry, who entered Friday shooting under 50 percent in his previous three contests, was scoreless until swishing a 30-footer as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter.

He went on to sink three of his four shot attempts in the second frame en route to his highest point total since pouring in a career-best 27 vs. Franklin Central on Dec. 15.

“That may have been the thing that relaxed him,” Barton said of Curry’s long 3. “That may have been the difference as far as getting him back on the positive streak.”

Despite his recent struggles, Curry had the green light to continue bombing away at the basket.

“He had an atrocious week of shooting this week in practice and we told him to forget it,” Barton offered. “Good shooters keep shooting.”

The loss was Yorktown’s third in its past five tilts after beginning its campaign 10-0.

Jordan Bibbs paced the Tigers (12-3, 3-2 HHC) with 17 points. Caleb Morey added 16 points.

Brandon Jonas added nine points and seven rebounds for NP. Haynes registered six assists.

Later tonight, the Dragons could have to make room for two in the HHC’s driver seat as 3A No. 1 Mt. Vernon (13-0, 4-0 HHC) travels to Delta (5-7, 1-3 HHC).

Barton’s crew is at Shelbyville (3-11, 1-3 HHC) Friday before concluding conference play by hosting the Marauders on Feb. 15.

“Shelbyville has trap game written all over it. It’s a double weekend,” said Barton, referring to NP also taking on Mooresville (5-7) next Saturday. “We have to make sure we’re focused. Our seniors are doing a nice job of keeping our practices intense.”

But the eighth-year coach allowed himself to look ahead to what will be the second MV-NP meeting this season. The Marauders handled the Dragons 60-39 on Dec. 29 in the semifinals of the Hancock County Tournament.

“We take care of Shelbyville, and Mt. Vernon has to come here. And I don’t mind them being No. 1 in the state and undefeated,” he explained. “I’ve been in the underdog spot before. I think we’ll be okay.”

Notes: NP’s Connor Roach had to be helped off the floor early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. After the game, Barton said Roach was fine and could’ve returned. … The Dragons shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field and 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) from the foul line. … NP had dropped seven of its last nine meetings to Yorktown. … The Dragons won the JV game 37-30. Duke Blackwell and Keegan Lytle had 11 points apiece for the victors.


New Palestine 70, Yorktown 55

YT — Morey 5-12 2-4 16, Bibbs 7-15 0-0 17, Davis 3-8 1-2 7, Neal 2-3 2-4 6, R. Miller 2-5 0-0 5, Brumley 1-2 0-0 2, Silvidi 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Paluch 0-1 2-2 2, B. Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Preston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 20-46 7-12 55.

NP — Morris 11-18 2-2 29, Jonas 3-7 3-4 9, Curry 8-13 1-1 22, So. Haynes 0-3 2-2 2, Roach 0-2 2-2 2, Cox 2-5 0-0 4, Sa. Haynes 0-1 0-0 0, Larrabee 1-1 0-0 2. Totals — 25-50 10-11 70.


YT (12-3, 3-2 HHC)  17   17   7  14  — 55

NP (11-4 5-0 HHC)   21   19 11  19 — 70

Three-pt. field goals: YT 8-18 (Morey 4-8, Bibbs 3-7, Davis 0-1, R. Miller 1-2), NP 10-20 (Morris 5-8, Curry 5-10, So. Haynes 0-2).

Rebounds: YT 11 (Bibbs 3, Neal 4, R. Miller 2, Moore 1, Paluch 1), NP 27 (Morris 4, Jonas 6, So. Haynes 3, Roach 3, Cox 6, Sa. Haynes 2, Larrabee 2, Hickman 1). Assists: YT 8 (Bibbs 3, Davis 1, Neal 1, R. Miller 3), NP 10 (Curry 1, So. Haynes 6, Sa. Haynes 3). Steals: YT 4 (Morey 1, Bibbs 1, Davis 1, Silvidi 1), NP 6 (Morris 1, Curry 2, So. Haynes 1, Roach 1, Larrabee 1). Blocks: YT 1 (Bibbs 1), NP 1 (Cox 1). Total fouls: YT 13, NP 13. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: YT 9, NP 15.


New Palestine 37, Yorktown 30

NP — Lytle 11, Blackwell 11, Farley 3, Hiland 6, Chandler 4, Vanderwal 2.

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