Morton Lady Potters 60, Dunlap 42

Nothing happened on this play, except everything. It started early in the second quarter, Morton leading, 19-9.

Tatym Lamprecht, relentless on defense, knocked the ball loose from a Dunlap guard near midcourt. She did this so near midcourt as to do it directly in front of the Potters’ coach, Bob Becker, who was off the bench and in a defensive crouch himself, practically part of the fun.

It’s not enough to say Lamprecht forced the ball out of the Dunlapian’s hands. She then fell on it, making it hers. And as she rolled over with the ball, on her back on the floor, she threw it to her left to Ellie VanMeenen running free.

We’re not even half-done here, folks, hang on.

VanMeenen, a freshman, moved the ball to the senior all-stater, Katie Krupa, at the midcourt line. Krupa was then in command of this play that led to nothing while meaning everything on a night when the Potters had something to prove. Krupa surveyed the floor ahead of her and whom did she see filling the right lane?

Tatym Lamprecht. She had risen from the pile of bodies at midcourt and done the great thing of getting back in the play. She was hustling downcourt when Krupa, after two or three steps, hit her with a pass near the free throw line.

Still with me?

Lamprecht had the ball trying to finish on a drive to the hoop, only her shot rolled off.

And who got the rebound?

Lamprecht. She wrestled it away from two Dunlap people and went up in the crowd for another shot, only to have it blocked out of bounds.

It was Morton’s ball, and here we pause to take a breath. All this happened in less time than it took to type it up. And nothing happened. No points at either end. Not a play you’ll see as a Mattson “Jim Dandy.”

So why, back there at midcourt, did Bob Becker do what my notes say he did?

“Becker clapping.”

The coach loves him some relentless defense, hustle, and especially does he love him what he scrawled pre-game on his lost-but-found whiteboard: “Competitive fire.”

From the Lamprecht steal until the end of the second quarter, the Potters went on a 12-5 run that gave them a 31-14 halftime lead. They had trailed at halftime in their last two games, 12-11 and 29-25 before winning by 20 and 21.

Now undefeated in seven games, all by margins ranging from 16 to 26 points, the Potters had fallen into a desultory, dispiriting, and just plain bad habit of needing big third quarters to beat mediocre teams. After the second such victory, Krupa said, “We’re a great third-quarter team. We need to be a great all-quarters team.”

That was Becker’s message to his team before tonight’s game against Dunlap, winner of the Mid-Illini regular-season championship last year.

The Potters’ leading scorer tonight, sophomore Addy Engel, said, “Coach emphasized that we needed to play all four quarters. We came out strong from the get-go.” Engel scored in every quarter — 5, 6, 4, and 6. Her points came from inside on nifty finishing work at the hoop and from outside on a 3-pointer and 15-foot jumper.

“Addy Engel was awesome,” Becker said. She’s the fourth Potter to lead the team in scoring, following Krupa, Lamprecht, and Maggie Hobson.

Whatever darkness may have settled on Becker in his team’s last two games, it was gone after this one.

“That was fun,” he said. “The kids were competing. That makes my job so much more enjoyable.”

Engel had the 21, Krupa 12, Lamprecht and VanMeenen 6 each, Hobson 5, Isabella Hutchinson 4, and Paige Griffin and Gaby Heer each had 3.

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