MORTON — The three seniors on three-time defending state champion Morton girls basketball team left a big mark on the Potterdome court Tuesday night.
With a 60-32 Mid-Illini win over Canton on Senior Night, Josi Becker, Kassidy Shurman and Caylie Jones became the winningest players in the history of the program with 127 wins over their careers.
"They've had incredible success," Morton coach Bob Becker said. "These seniors are going to go down as an unbelievable championship legacy. Brandi Bisping graduated last year with 126 wins, so these kids continue to achieve."
The Potters (27-1, 13-0), top-ranked in Class 3A, clinched their fourth straight M-I title with the their 24th straight win, and will go for an undefeated conference season Friday night at Washington.
Against the Little Giants (21-6, 10-3), the three seniors spearheaded the stingy defense while junior Tenley Dowell (20 points, eight rebounds) and sophomore Lindsey Dullard (18 points) provided most of the offense.
Morton got off to a fast start in both halves, taking a quick 9-0 lead early in the first quarter, which almost surprised its coach.
"On Senior Night, there could be some emotions that run through your players and team, and I honestly didn't know how they were going to respond," Becker said. "But these kids have been through so much, they were just ready to play.
"Our press was effective early, and whenever we threw it on the whole game, really. I thought we had a terrific start, a confident start, and shots were falling early."
Morton, which forced 21 turnovers, led 20-8 after a layup and a trey by Dullard in the second quarter when Canton made a run.
A trey by Anna Plumer (11 points) pulled the Little Giants to within 20-15 with 2:16. left in the half. Morton took a 23-17 lead at the break.
"We fought back a couple of times, but it's the same thing that happened to us at home (a 66-48 Morton win)," Canton coach Jessica Jones said. "We dug a hole, fought back, dug a hole, and fought back.
"I thought inside we could have done a little bit more, because we've got big kids that can make moves."
The Potters all but put the game away when they opened the second half with a 12-point run to build a 35-17 lead.
"The first three minutes of the second half set the tone," Becker said. "The lead went from six to 20 in a hurry.
"We're at our best in transition, and we've got to create some offense with our defense. Our kids just flew around defensively, which I thought caused Canton a lot of trouble. And it got us into an up-tempo attack, and kind of put them on their heels for a little bit."
Canton pulled to within 41-28 at the end of the third after a layup and a trey by Plumer. But the Potters opened the fourth with a 15-1 spurt on their way to the runaway win.
Morton held Canton to just four points in the final period, and had its biggest lead at the final buzzer.
Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.