“Got outplayed”

March 4, 2021: “Got outplayed”
Dunlap 58, Morton’s Lady Potters 42

Yes, I was 75 feet away. And I come with a bias. But I’m telling you, that was no foul on Katie Krupa. The Dunlap shooter threw up a prayer from way downtown. Then she flopped onto the court, as if struck down with malice aforethought. On hearing a referee’s whistle and seeing him look at her, Krupa said, loudly, “THAT’S A FOUL?” Oh, such a bruise to the man’s delicate ego. So he T’d her up.

Yes, she may have earned it. It’s never a good idea to test a zebra’s tolerance. But, really. Not even four minutes into the game? It’s not as if he had heard complaints for an hour. Besides, I am an eyewitness to the truth, your honor, that Krupa never touched the flopping flopper. Why would she contest a prayer from way downtown? The Dunlappers already were 1-for-5 on hurried-up 3 pointers.

Yes, I’m making much ado about a foul at 4:36 of the first quarter. And, yes, I’m going to go on about it a little more – because it would stand as symbolic of the Lady Potters’ night. Instead of the prayer falling on deaf ears, it resulted in a six-point possession that gave Dunlap a lead it never gave up. From there, everything went the winners’ way.

Wait. Did I say a “six-point possession”? Yes. Two free throws came on the shooting foul, two more on the technical foul, and two on a put-back of Dunlap’s next shot. Morton’s 5-3 lead became a 9-5 deficit in 13 seconds of play. The Potters never got closer the rest of the way.

The last time they were that close, at 31-27 early in the third quarter, Dunlap went on a 9-0 run that featured a steal of a Morton in-bounds pass (oh my) and an offensive rebound basket that caused me to make a one-word note (“over”). It was over early because the Potters’ were 1) beaten on the boards, 2) timid on offense, and 3) a step behind on defense. Morton coach Bob Becker said it in fewer words: “Our kids got outplayed tonight.”

Becker called Dunlap’s guards, sophomore Sophia Remmel and junior Lily Sutter, “the best guard tandem in the conference.” They accounted for 32 points tonight and the Dunlap post, senior Gabby DiGiallonardo, added 17 – meaning those three outscored Morton by themselves.

“We’re a really young team,” Dunlap coach Heather Cassady said. “We start two sophomores, two juniors, and a senior. It’s a great accomplishment for them to knock off a program like Morton’s.” She also said, “This is my eighth season here and the first time we’ve beaten them.” That means Morton had beaten Dunlap at least 14 times in a row. I had seen Morton beat Dunlap 20 straight times.

Still, Dunlap was the better team tonight. With the victory, the Eagles clinched the Mid-Illini Conference championship and ended Morton’s run of six straight titles. The teams end the regular season with a rematch Saturday afternoon in the Potterdome. Dunlap is 12-1, Morton 10-3.

After missing three games with an ankle injury, Maggie Hobson led Morton’s scoring with 14. Krupa had 10, Raquel Frakes 9, Addy Engel 5, and Graci Junis 4.

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