“I had the green light”

Morton’s Lady Potters 62, East Peoria 38

Late in this one, Cailyn Cowley heard what she’s been listening for. She’s been patient enough. The Lady Potters senior has worked her way up in the rotation, now second or third off the bench, mostly playing inside. And what is it that such a player wants to hear?

Here you need to know she’s a good shooter with a nice, soft touch. But the team’s needs have kept her in the paint where she scores a workingman’s points on layups and rebounds.

Until tonight. Tonight she heard what stars hear.

“I had the green light,” she said.

And that meant?

“Shoot it from anywhere.”

Cowley laughed and blushed and the words bubbled out of her and she looked at a reporter’s notebook to make sure he was getting it all down. Whatever big number Cailyn Cowley’s happy meter goes to, she was there.

She said the green light came from the Potters’ coach, Bob Becker, once a shooter himself (still lamenting the late creation of the 3-point shot). He knew what Cowley wanted to hear. He’d seen her put up pretty 3’s in practice, the shots spinning perfectly off her hands.

So it happened that she made back-to-back 3-pointers in the last three minutes of tonight’s game. She’d made a couple 3’s in other years but the one from the top of the key tonight was her first this season.

The ball had gone inside and back out to the green-lit shooter. “I knew as soon as I got it, I’d shoot it.” Something Stephen Curry might say.

And the second one?

“From the right wing, I knew if they passed it to me, I WOULD SHOOT IT!” Stephen Curry’s mindset, absolutely.

Set free from the paint, going 2-for-2 on 3’s in about a minute, Cowley said, “I’d never made two in one game.” And, “What a great feeling, seeing those go through and just running back on defense.”

Now, of course, the 33 spectators in the Potterdome’s covid-restricted bleachers must have been rooting for a third 3 when Cowley, from the left wing, put up another pretty one. Alas, even Steph misses once in a while. This one spun out.

Except for Cowley-as-Curry, it wasn’t much of a game. Morton’s starters ran up a 26-0 lead in the first quarter and played less than another quarter. The Potters are now 8-2 in Mid-Illini Conference play, East Peoria 1-9. Becker said, “I liked our energy, our defenses were good, man-to-man, and the box-and-one, and the bench was productive.”

Morton was without two regular starters. Maggie Hobson twisted an ankle two nights ago at East Peoria and may be out for another couple games. Paige Griffin was in quarantine because her sister tested positive for covid.

For the first time in her career, Cowley led Morton’s scoring with 14 points. Raquel Frakes had 12, Katie Krupa 10, Addy Engel 8, Sedona McCartney 5, Graci Junis 4, Faith Hostetler 4, Paige Chapin 2, Gaby Heer 2, Maria Lopko 1.

The Potters next play Limestone (2-8) at 12:30 Saturday afternoon in the Potterdome.