Morton, Ill. defeats Rochester for first Class 3A title

NORMAL, Ill. — Chandler Ryan scored 20 points and forced five turnovers to lead Morton, Ill. past Rochester 47-37 on Saturday, earning the Potters their first Class 3A state title.

Ryan took control of the game in the fourth quarter, leading the Potters (33-3) to the championship after finishing fourth in 2007 and 2013. Emma Heisler scored 14 points, while Brandi Bisping added 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

In the decisive second half, Ryan turned it up several notches. In one 7-second span midway through the third quarter with her team down 28-22, she stole the ball three times, scored a layup on one, dished to Bisping for the other, and evened the score with another layup. After being fouled, she sank the free throw to give her team the lead for good.

“She’s amazing, isn’t she? I’m so proud of all of these kids,” Morton coach Bob Becker said. “This has been our dream each and every year, and somehow it all just came together this year.”

Ryan, a 5-6 guard and second-team AP All-State selection, was nearly speechless after the game.

“No words,” she said, grinning. “I just can’t. We practiced so very, very hard all year. So much hard work went into this. I’m just thrilled we could do this for the community.”

Rochester (33-3) was led by Laryn Sapetti’s 19 points and eight rebounds. No other Rockets scored in double-digits.

“When you’re down to Morton going into the final two or three minutes, it’s game over. They are tough at the line,” Rochester coach J.R. Boudouris said.

Morton went 23-for-25 from the free-throw line, compared to 6 of 10 for Rochester.

“Unfortunately, we were playing catchup for much of the second half, and rushed a couple of possessions there at the end,” Bourdouris said. “That’s the breaks, I guess.”

Rochester led 23-16 at the half. Morton tightened its defense considerably in the second half, which—along with Ryan’s heroics—helped propel the Potters to victory.

“We talked about defense at halftime,” Morton coach Becker said. “We knew if we were going to do this, we needed to do it with defense.”

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