The Morton boys basketball team struggled to score at the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament for the second day in a row.
The No. 3-seeded Potters were defeated by Moline Wednesday in the quarterfinal round by the score of 57-44, despite trailing by one point at the start of the fourth quarter.
Morton scored four points in the final period.
“We didn’t show much discipline offensively for 32 minutes,” Morton coach Jarrett Brown said. “I think we got a real good education of what we want to look like as a team. Moline had a lot of discipline offensively and made us guard.”
After a tightly contested first quarter, Morton and Moline were tied at 12.
The Maroons used a 15-7 second quarter advantage to hold a 27-19 lead at halftime.
Moline shot the ball extremely well in the opening half, going 10-16 from the field.
Morton stormed the Maroons at the start of the third period.
Ryan Altenberger scored nine of his 11 points in the game in a span of just under three minutes in the third to give the Potters the lead at 30-27.
Morton outscored Moline 21-14 in the third quarter, but Moline held a one-point advantage heading into the final frame.
Moline forward Deonte Billups took over in the fourth quarter scoring nine of his 13 points.
“If you ask Deonte, he’d probably say this was his least productive game of the year,” said Moline coach Sean Taylor. “But he hung in there and made some big plays down the stretch.”
The Maroons outscored Morton 16-4 in the fourth to punch its ticket to the semifinals of the tournament against Springfield Lanphier.
Moline sealed the victory down the stretch thanks to its free throw shooting and points off of the bench.
The Maroons were 17-for-21 from the charity stripe and had 20 points from non-starters.
Brody Harding led Moline with 17 points, including 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.
“He handles the ball well and he is really tough defensively,” Taylor said of Harding. “He does so many good things for us.”
For Morton, Altenberger was the only player in double figures. Jarrett Crider and Barik Olden each contributed eight points.
Through the first two games of the tournament, Morton has 32 turnovers (16 in each game).
Brown said the Potters know what to work on.
“We need to embrace who we are,” Brown said. “We want to move the ball on offense and on defense, we need to play five to the ball. When one piece is out of sync, we are not very good.”