Morris, Lady Rams hold back Comets

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2008


Sports Editor

Tuesday’s game between St. Charles and West St. John featured a battle between teams off to a strong start, as well as a match up between two of the area’s elite scorers and centers in SCC’s Brooke Becker and WSJ’s Kyla Morris.

Despite a season high 37 points from Becker, and a third quarter in which Morris out sat due to foul trouble, the Rams denied a spirited Comet comeback effort and held on for a 51-46 win at St. Charles.

“It’s always a plus to get a win on the road,” said West St. John Coach Lester Smith. “You want your kids to learn how to win and deal with adversity away from our gym.”

West St. John (3-1) led by as many as 21, but a Becker steal and layup two minutes into the fourth quarter cut the Rams’ lead to four, 39-35, and capped an 8-0 St. Charles run.

But back on the court, Morris put her team back firmly in control when she drove for a basket and drew a foul. She hit the foul shot to put West St. John up seven, 42-35.

“That gave us an edge, but we knew we had to keep our defense up to win,” said Morris, who scored a team high 21. “We got a little down on ourselves, but we picked our confidence back up.”

The lead grew to nine after the Rams broke the Comets (6-3) full court press and scored when Shantell Pablo leaked out past the defense for an open layup.

The Comets fell behind by 10 before making a last gasp effort.

Kacie Braud, Dominique DiCarlo and Becker each made baskets to pull St. Charles within five, 48-43.

With 1:19 left, Morris made one of two free throws to push the lead to six. At the other end, Becker made a foul shot but rebounded her own miss after the second, but a Comets turnover resulted.

St. Charles got back within three after two more Becker makes from the foul stripe with 25 seconds left. The Comets fouled WSJ’s Jailyn Gordon, who made one-of-two foul shots to make it 50-46. Becker got to the line one last time with 12 seconds left, but couldn’t convert on either shot, leaving the Rams with the cushion they needed to survive.

“The kids just kept competing at the end,” said Smith. “But there were too many fouls. We weren’t moving our feet.”

Gordon scored 15 for West St. John.

The Rams led 18-6 after the first quarter, scoring 12 of the game’s first 14 points. West St. John repeatedly scored in transition and in the lane, as Morris scored 10 of the last 12 points in the quarter.

“We were able to get the ball inside and make layups,” said Smith. “We want to get out and play up-tempo, and we were able to do that tonight.”

Morris would score 16 first half points in all, as West St. John pushed its lead to 31-10. Points by Emily Picciola and Becker fueled a 7-0 run by St. Charles to end the second quarter, but the Comets were plagued by missed layups and turnovers for much of the first half.

“We’ve got a very young team,” said St. Charles Coach Nolan Louque. “The gym was packed, and it was the first time a lot of these kids have played in that kind of environment. It took a half to settle in.”

Morris picked up her fourth foul late in the second quarter, and began the second half on the bench. The Comets scored the first eight points of the third quarter to cut the Ram lead to 39-33.

“We started denying the post, making them shoot from the outside,” Louque said. “That kind of put us back in it.”

But the early hole proved too much for the Comets to avoid their first home loss of the season.

“The team never quit. If we played the first half like we played the second, we’d have had a real shot,” Louque said. “We can’t allow teams to get up on us like that.”