Big second half by women's basketball puts away Triton
December 16, 2014
The Morton College women’s basketball team knew it would have its hands full in facing two ranked teams at the St. Louis Community College Classic, so the Panthers realized Triton would provide an opportunity to crack the win column.
The Panthers had a one-point lead at halftime before exploding for 57 second-half points in an 89-51 win over Triton December 9 at the Henry J. Vais Gymnasium in Cicero.
All 11 players who suited up for Morton College scored with Amy Kinney’s 24 points leading the way. Leslie Ellis (19), Franchessca Gill (13) and Ashley Ortiz (12) also reached double figures for the Panthers, who are now 2-11.
The Panthers used a 26-2 run early in the second half to take control.
Morton College then traveled to Missouri and lost to No. 3 Illinois Central 83-26 December 12 and No. 20 St. Louis Community College 85-35 December 13. The Panthers are off until Monday, January 5, when they host Milwaukee Area Technical College. Game time is 5 p.m.
Kish killers: Men's basketball takes down No. 2 Kougars on Dixon three
December 16, 2014
Morton College’s new nickname? How about “Kish Killers?” as for the second time in three years, Kishwaukee rolled into Cicero undefeated and ranked and returned to Malta with its first loss of the season.
The Panthers really landed the proverbial “big one” this time as Morton College rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half to stun the NJCAA Division II’s No. 2 team 86-85 on Nick Dixon’s three-pointer from the right corner with 8.7 seconds December 13 at the Henry J. Vais Gymnasium in Cicero.
Dixon finished with a game-high 37 points to help the Panthers, now 6-5, take down their second top 5 team this season.
“We talked to the kids about NJIT beating Michigan,” said Morton College assistant coach Rob Abraham. “We were the underdogs coming in. No one expected us to win. It was a tough week with having played Triton and finals, too.”
Abraham and assistant Darryl Royster shared the coaching duties with head coach Conte Stamas sidelined with the flu.
Dixon, Greg Carter (12 points, 4 assists) and Arran Skinner (17 points, 8 rebounds) paced the comeback, combining for 46 of Morton College’s 52 second-half points. Dixon and Carter scored the Panthers’ last 16 points to end Kishwaukee’s 12-0 start to the campaign.
Morton College, which snapped a three-game losing streak, didn’t take its first lead until 3:17 to go when Carter’s three-point play put the Panthers ahead 78-77. The lead changed hands five more times until Dixon’s three gave the Panthers the victory and touched off a joyous celebration.
The Panthers had a chance to take down No. 17 Triton, but fell 74-72 December 9 at home. Morton College opened with a blistering pace, leading 32-21 at the midway point of the first half before settling for a 42-40 intermission advantage.
The second half was back and forth with Chris Soczek’s three-pointer giving Morton College its last lead at 66-63 with 7:20 left. While the first 10 minutes were a scoring free-for-all, points were a scarce commodity the last four minutes with Panthers outscoring Triton 4-2.
Dixon led the Panthers with 23 points, followed by Carter’s 22 and Skinner’s 11. Korey Robinson added 8 points.
Morton College’s final regular-season game of the 2014 part of its schedule is Tuesday, December 16, at Olive-Harvey on Chicago’s South Side.
Diet of ranked opponents to test basketball programs during finals week
December 8, 2014
Final exam week this week at Morton College is extended to the basketball court for the Panther men’s and women’s programs.
Both programs have a pair of NJCAA Division II ranked opponents on tap – the men host No. 7 Triton Tuesday, December 9 and No. 4 Kishwaukee Saturday, December 13, while the women celebrate the conclusion of finals week by tackling No. 3 Illinois Central and No. 20 St. Louis Community College at the St. Louis Community College Classic Friday and Saturday, December 12 and 13.
After beating South Suburban for the first time since 2006, December has been anything but a month to remember for the Panther men with losses to Joliet (89-74 on the 4th) and Wright (71-63 on the 6th).
Like Morton College (5-4), Triton (7-2) comes in on a two-game slide with losses to Olive-Harvey and Parkland. Kishwaukee is 11-0 with a 5-0 mark against Illinois Skyway teams.
The Morton College women are trying to head into St. Louis with some momentum. A win over Triton December 9 would give the Panthers (1-9) two wins in their last three games. Morton College cracked the win column for the first time in the 2014-15 season with a 70-59 victory over Trinity Christian’s JV December 2 at the Henry J. Vais Gymnasium in Cicero.
Chelsea Martinez led the Panthers with 16 points, while Ashley Ortiz added 12 and Leslie Ellis, 11. Nine different players cracked the scoring column for the Panthers, who haven’t been at full strength during any point this season.
Wright’s trio of Jieve Morris (30 points), Tayja Dean (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Tisha Freeman (16 points, 18 rebounds) led the Rams to an 82-62 win over the Panthers December 6 in Cicero.
Ellis led Morton College with 16 points, while Ashley Ortiz chipped in with eight points and nine rebounds.
Start times for the Triton contests at home December 9 are 5 p.m. for the women and 7 p.m. for the men. The men’s game against Kishwaukee begins at 3 p.m. December 13 at home.
Wonderful day for men's soccer: First Region IV title in program history and coach's 200th win
November 3, 2014
Juan Franco's beard was covered with frosting and there still might be some pieces of cake left on his face two days later, but the longtime Morton College men's soccer coach is still relishing the taste of the sweetest victory in his career.
Morton College finally captured that elusive Region IV championship with a 3-1 win over the College of DuPage November 1 at the Antonio Carbajal Soccer Complex in Cicero.
The win, which moves the Panthers into the Great Lakes District title game for the first time in college history, also was the 200th victory in Franco's career.
"It is like a miracle," said Franco, who is 200-104-32 in 17 seasons at Morton College. "We finally got here. This is something I can't find the words to describe how I feel. We have really great players and a great team."
The Panthers (17-1-4) face NJCAA Division I defending champion Iowa Western for the Great Lakes District championship at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 8, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the winner headed to the national tournament. The Reivers (20-0-1) are ranked second nationally and carry a 46-match unbeaten streak into the contest.
"Every time I've been here, it never happens for some reason," Franco said. "The guys stayed focused and now we move on to play in Iowa."
This time, the right combination of luck and skill were on Morton College's side. The Panthers were lucky to escape the opening half ahead 1-0 on Daniel Reyes' tally as a pair of DuPage shots clanged off the crossbar.
With the game even at 1, Franco reinserted Morton College's version of the Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Maxwell Ejigou and Sergio Otalora. They quickly made a difference with Ejigou, who earlier assisted on Reyes' goal, scored off a rebound of an Otalora shot at the 65th minute for his 14th tally of the campaign. Otalora converted a penalty kick 14 minutes later to score in his sixth straight game, bringing his season total to 19 goals and eight assists.
"Once Maxwell scored, that gave us a shot of energy and made us believe," Otalora said.
Men's soccer advances to Region IV championship game
October 30, 2014
Each step Morton College takes in the Region IV men's soccer tournament,the Panthers reach another milestone.
The Panthers set a school record for victories with their 16th coming in a 3-0 win over McHenry October 29 at the Antonio Carbajal Soccer Complex in Cicero.
That enabled the Panthers (16-1-4) to reach another milestone as they host the College of DuPage at noon Saturday, November 1, in the Region IV championship in Cicero. In addition to long-time men's soccer coach Juan Franco going for his 200th career win, the Panthers are shooting for the program's first appearance in the Great Lakes District title game held the following Saturday in Iowa. Franco's record is 199-104-32 in 17 seasons at Morton College.
The College of DuPage (8-9-1) advanced by upsetting 10th-ranked Oakton 2-1 October 29. Morton and DuPage have met this season with the Panthers winning 4-0 October 2.