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Morrow leads Oran to victory over Delta
Oran junior Jon Morrow wasted little time in putting on a show Friday night at Delta High School.
The only question about the exhibition seemed to be, how long would it last?
The 6-foot-5 Morrow displayed a dominating inside game and fought off foul problems to close the show on his terms.
When Morrow departed the game with 1:36 left in the game, he left to an ovation and not because he was forced out by fouls. He had scored a career-high 34 points, controlled the boards and blocked numerous shots.
With Morrow leading the way, Oran rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit and defeated Delta 80-60.
Morrow said his previous season-high was 20 points, and he threatened to surpass that by halftime as he connected on his first seven shots from the field. He scored in an assortment of ways: his teammates dumped the ball inside, he scored off offensive rebounds and hit short jumpers from out front and along the baseline.
"My teammates just looked for me and got me the ball," Morrow said.
Delta (3-4), which tops out with 6-foot-2 senior Cody Schremp, didn't have an answer.
"You have to give them credit, they knew they had a guy three or four inches taller than any of us, and he can post up well," Delta coach Justin Simpher said.
Oran coach Joe Shoemaker said the Eagles (5-2) wanted to get the ball inside.
"We knew they were a little bit undersized and they would struggle to match up," Shoemaker said. "That was one of the things we had discussed. He kept himself out of foul trouble the second half and played a very good game tonight."
Morrow scored the Eagles' first 11 points and 13 of the team's 15 points in the first quarter. Delta matched the Oran's point total in the period.
Morrow pushed his point total to 17 points in the first two minutes of the second quarter, but then cooled down and picked up fouls. His put back on a missed shot put Oran ahead 21-17 at the 6:30 mark, but he picked up his second and third fouls in the next four minutes as Delta finish the period with a 18-5 burst.
The Bobcats scored 11 of their points on free throws during the run as three Eagles left the game with three fouls. Morrow's third came with 3:06 left and teammates Zac Chasteen and Dylan Adams soon followed.
Delta went into the break with a 35-26 lead.
"The biggest concern was we weren't playing hard," Shoemaker said. "We came out with some things on our mind other than basketball in the first half. And their effort was a lot better than ours. We just fouled them and put them on the line."
Oran committed 14 of its 18 fouls for the game during the first half.
"He nailed it," Morrow said. "He said exactly what was going through our minds. He said we weren't ready for this game, and we came in thinking we were just going to blow past Delta."
Morrow returned to the floor to start the second half and needed just 13 seconds to match his season high as he scored on a conventional three-point play. It sparked a 15-0 run that was capped by a 3-point shot by Nathan Michelsen with 3:44 left in the third quarter. Morrow and Michelsen each had seven points in the burst.
It was part of a 23-4 run in the period, which ended with Oran leading 51-44.
"That's the best second half we've ever played," Morrow said.
The Eagles put the game away with a 9-0 burst at the start of the fourth quarter for a 60-44 lead with 4:27 left.
Oran not only had a 16-point lead, but Morrow still had three fouls.
"That's something we talked about at the half," Simpher said. "We knew he was in foul trouble and we had a guy inside that I was trying to get him to take it at him, and we never did get that done. He played a good, smart second half.
"I knew him from last year. A big tall kid. He's definitely made some improvements and gotten better from what I seen last year."
Michelsen also torched the Bobcats. He scored 24 points in the second half and finished with 29.
Shelby Kight led Delta with 24 points and Chase Crowden added 16.
Despite the loss, Simpher was upbeat about the 3-4 record the Bobcats take into the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament, which begins Saturday. Delta has one more win than all of last season and is seeded 10th for the tournament.
"It's good to know we've made the improvement to get better throughout the course of the year," Simpher said. "The guys have been working hard, and they've come out and put up fights the whole time.
Oran 80, Delta 60
ORAN (80) -- Preston Scherer 4, Gabe Kielhofner 7, Nathan Michelsen 29, Zac Chasteen 4, Reece Mangels 2, Jon Morrow 34. FG 27, FT 23-32, F 14. (3-pointers: Michelsen 3. Fouled out: none)
DELTA (60) -- Teddy May 5, Cody Helderman 4, Zach Reigert 5, Seth Blattel 4, Chase Crowden 16, Cody Schremp 2, Shelby Kight 24. FG 14, FT 20-25, F 18. (3-pointers: May 1, Helderman 1, Reigert 1. Fouled out: Helderman, Schremp)