MORRIS – The 33rd edition of the Morris Boys Shootout is in the books, and Bolingbrook used a putback basket at the buzzer by Tyler Cochran to defeat defending Class 4A state champion Belleville West, 60-59, to win its second straight shootout title.
The two-day event featured 90 games on the four courts; the main gym and all three fieldhouse courts were used.
Bolingbrook won the overall championship, while Loyola Academy defeated Deerfield, 29-27, and was the consolation bracket winner in the Gold Tournament, which featured the top two seeds from each pool as determined by Wednesday’s pool results.
In the Maroon Tournament, which featured the third seeds, Alton won the championship with a 42-29 win over Lake Zurich, while Oak Forest defeated Joliet West, 52-40, to win the consolation title.
In the White Tournament for the No. 4 seeds, Plainfield Central edged Galesburg, 59-58, to win the title, while Riverside-Brookfield won the consolation title with a 57-41 win over Washington.
Although Morris boys basketball coach and tournament director Joe Blumberg said the competition played at the highest level he’d seen, other factors went into making the event a success.
“The tournament ran well,” Blumberg said. “Sometimes you get caught up in trying to have the best teams or best players, but we have put the emphasis on having top-notch coaches who run great programs. They do the right things and they do them well, and that helps things run smoothly. I can’t say enough about our coaches.
“When you have high-quality programs, you are going to have high-quality competition, and that’s what we had in most games. The title game was won on a putback shot at the buzzer, and there were a lot of overtime games over the two days. We are certainly going to try and maintain that level of competition next year.”
With the competition comes a lot of interest, and Blumberg was happy with the turnout of both fans and college scouts.
“We had good crowds,” he said.
“A lot of the teams travel well, and they get to see teams they wouldn’t normally see. We try to get teams from all areas of the state so that everyone can see someone a little different. The atmosphere and vibe in the gym and field house was really good.
“We have about the same core group of college scouts that come, about 20 to 25 of them. We don’t charge them to come like some other shootouts and we try to take care of them well in the hospitality room.”
To that extent, Blumberg thanked Buffalo Wild Wings, Maria’s and Corleone’s for their contributions and, as always, the City of Morris.
“We can’t have this without the help of Mayor Richard Kopczick and the City of Morris,” Blumberg said.
“We also got great help from our parent volunteers. And, the players on our lower levels helped a lot with the scoreboards and clocks. There were some freshmen that were only scheduled to work three hours but they stayed for nine to 10 hours.
“I also have to thank my coaching staff – Todd Kein, Ray Burgess and Mike Muntz. A lot of times they would have any problems solved before I even knew there was a problem.”
Blumberg also thanked SunBelt Rental for the floor fans that kept the air moving on the floor level to keep the surface from becoming too slippery.
He also said that he plans to keep the tournament format the same as it was this year, with a tweak or two.
“I felt bad that Belleville West had to play back-to-back-to-back games, with the last one being the title game,” he said. “That’s something we are going to have to look at and correct for next year.
“Overall, it was a good tournament. There were teams that had dinner at some of our local restaurants and stayed at our local hotels, so it brought some business into town, which is nice.”