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Girls basketball: Morrison dominates paint on both ends, blocks 14 shots in crossover win against Newman

STERLING – The Morrison Fillies went into Wednesday night’s Three Rivers Conference crossover clash with the Newman Comets with a pronounced size advantage, having two starters with six-plus-inches over their opponent’s tallest player.

By winning the rebound battle decisively, blocking 14 shots, and consistently scoring in the paint, they took full advantage of the physical mismatch, and won 60-29 at Newman’s Gym.

“I think were we just a little tired and worn out, but we still gave it our all and tried our best,” Newman freshman guard Lucy Oetting said of some second-half struggles, as the Comets were outscored 32-12. “It was pretty tough [matching up with their size]. In the fourth quarter, we double-teamed one of the taller girls, and I think that worked a lot better.”

Morrison (15-7) seized momentum immediately as Camryn and Shelby Veltrop took turns assisting one another for a 6-0 lead in the first 1:15.

Jess Johns recovered a loose ball and laid it in for Newman’s first points a minute later, but the Fillies wouldn’t concede much more in the opening quarter.

Camryn Veltrop pushed the lead to 11-6 with two free throws as 2:04 remained, and Diana Robbins assisted Shelby Veltrop on the fast break for a seven-point lead to end the quarter.

“When we started off, our defense was kind of rough,” Shelby Veltrop said. “But then, once we started running the floor a little bit, I think that helped in combination with our defense picking up, because they were kind of packing it inside a little bit. So we had to make sure that we ran the floor.”

Just 15 seconds into the second quarter, Madison Duhon buried a deep 2 off a Johns post pass, drawing the Comets within five. But the deficit quickly expanded amid shooting struggles.

The Fillies widened their lead to 24-14 on an Emery Brewer free throw with 2:47 left. Just over a minute later, Shelby Veltrop grabbed an offensive rebound, then put it back in with a short-range jumper over a leaping Newman defender. In the last 12 seconds, Jordan Eads hit a mid-range jumper, giving the Fillies a 28-17 lead at the half.

Camryn Veltrop swatted five shots before the break, and Morrison repeatedly denied Newman’s attempts to feed Johns in the post.

“I talked to the girls at halftime. They knew that it was a really sloppy game,” Morrison coach Kerry Grim said of the first half, where both teams struggled with turnovers. “Like I said, they’re coming off a very big win [against Sherrard]. They just played very lethargic, and we let them know that we weren’t happy with that kind of play.”

Newman’s Helen Papoccia handles the ball Monday, Dec, 12, 2022 against Mendota.

Newman’s Helen Papoccia handles the ball against Mendota during a Three Rivers East game last month in Sterling. The Comets hosted Morrison in a TRAC crossover contest on Wednesday. (Alex T. Paschal —

With a pump-fake layup over Camryn Veltrop 10 seconds into the third quarter, Johns moved the deficit back to single digits. But the Comets couldn’t keep the momentum.

Morrison went up 32-19 as Shelby Veltrop put back a Camryn Veltrop miss with 7:05 to play, then 35-21 as Robbins put back another miss about 30 seconds later.

Shelby Veltrop followed with back-to-back baskets on the fast break – the second of which was started by a Robbins block and rebound – and the Fillies’ lead increased to 39-21 in the blink of an eye.

After a Shelby Veltrop mid-range jumper in the final minute, Morrison took a 43-25 lead into the final quarter.

“I think most teams, they don’t have size to match up,” Camryn Veltrop said. “Especially with two post players, it helps getting it down low. And then some of our guards step up and shoot outside, which helps a lot, too – even when they pack it down inside the lane.”

With a 15-4 fourth-quarter run, the Fillies sealed their win.

Shelby Veltrop hit a jump hook for a 45-25 lead with 6:44 to play, then Eads knocked down two free throws with just under a minute remaining to cap the 31-point win.

Shelby Veltrop led the Fillies with 24 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, five blocks and five steals; Camryn Veltrop tallied 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and six blocks; Robbins had six points, five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks; and Eads added seven points, three rebounds and one steal.

Johns paced the Comets with nine points, 10 rebounds, two assists, four steals and one block; Oetting racked up six points, five steals and two rebounds; Duhon scored eight points; and Helen Papoccia chipped in six points and two rebounds.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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