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The Perez brothers were not about to Morton lose Friday night.
Sophomore Weisner Perez (22 points, 12 rebounds) overcame second half foul trouble to score 11 of his points in the final quarter, and combined with older brother Waller Perez (14 points, 13 rebounds) to provide a dominant inside spark as Morton (6-1, 2-0) fought off a fierce battle from visiting Downers Grove South (5-3, 2-1) to win 70-64 in Friday’s WSC Gold battle.
“Just keep fighting,” said Weisner, who played most of the fourth quarter with four fouls. “I did what I could to step up. I was happy we got the victory. That’s all that matters.
“It’s a thrill (playing with my brother). It’s his last year and I’m going to miss him, but we’re going to make a good combination I think.”
“Weisner had a great first half keeping us in the game,” Morton coach Tony Martinucci said, “and then Walter took over in the fourth quarter battling for loose balls and the whole team fed off that. (Rodrigo) Nova had a great block too at a big time (with the game tied at 48) that led to a three-point play at the other end (by Weisner Perez).”
Not to be forgotten in Morton’s win was guard Greg Carter (22 points, three steals), who hit a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter to help erase Downers South’s 31-28 halftime lead.
“We outhustled them (in the fourth quarter) - early on we weren’t hustling as much,” Carter said. “In the second half we wanted to get on the floor and get some loose balls.”
Downers South committed 13 turnovers in the game (eight in the second half) to Morton’s total of seven all night.
Neither team led by more than three points in the entire first half, which ended on a three-pointer at the buzzer by Downers South’s Scott McNellis.
Led by double figure scorers Jordan Cannon (14 points), Danny Spinuzza (13 points, with four three-pointers), McNellis (12 points) and Robert Mara (11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocked shots), the Mustangs remained tied at 48 before a 7-0 Morton run two minutes into the fourth quarter finally created momentum for the hosts.
“We have a motto, ‘one possession at a time,’ Downers South coach Jay Baum said. “And we had a couple turnovers there, a missed box out, or maybe us making a shot and it’s a different game. But I’m proud of how we played. Two good teams, they came out on top. That Waller kid is a beast inside, and [Carter] got hot and is a good scorer.
“The press hurt us a little bit, but we broke it too for some layups. We’re getting better, seeing some signs, but our conference is outstanding.”
Jarvis Cannon added eight points and four assists for Morton, winners of six games in a row. Morton also made of 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter and 19 of 25 for the night.