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MUNSTER — They say it doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish that matters most, the prophets say.

But what happens when you do both?

Munster junior Jevon Morris scored the first seven points of Thursday's home game against Times No. 10 Highland. He then scored seven straight before the free throws starting flying at the end of the game.

The biggest points he got came with two minutes left when he bombed a three that stretched the Mustangs' lead out to four.

Munster went on to win 48-41, the 'Stangs 24th straight win over the Trojans.

"I knew I needed to attack more," said Morris, who scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. "At the moment (of making the late 3) I didn't realize how important it was.

"But it was a big shot that got our lead out there more."

Munster coach Mike Hackett was even stronger about the subject.

"Jevon was the difference in this game," Hackett said.

Beyond the 6-foot-2 guard, Munster's defense was another big part of the night.

The Trojans (8-6, 0-2) were 4 of 22 from beyond the 3-point stripe and finished 15 of 53 from the floor for 37 percent.

"A lot of those 3s were really good looks," Highland coach Jordan Heckard said. "Munster's defense played a part in it but we also missed some shots we normally make."

The game never got above a five-point lead either way until the end. Munster led 9-8 after the first quarter and 22-18 at the half.

Each possession was nervous and key, magnified by a large, loud crowd from the two rival neighbors.

Foul trouble did hurt the Trojans' cause quite a bit.

Isaac Sytsma and Raul Maldonado, both guards, were called for two fouls in the first quarter and were forced to the bench. Tyler Scheidt, a 6-foot-7 junior, was also called for two early fouls in the Northwest Crossroads Conference showdown.

Then in the third quarter both Sytsma and Maldonado picked up their fourth fouls and spent more minutes on the pines.

"We had guys playing all over the place out of position," Heckard said.

The subject of Morris came up again.

"He's a playmaker," Heckard said. "In a game like this you gotta make plays. They did. We didn't."

Munster (9-3, 2-0) didn't have anyone else in double-figure scoring, but got solid play from a deeper bench. Tyler Zabrecky scored seven, Luke Balac scored five and Nick Fies had four.

The last time Highland won was Dec. 28, 2001.

"No, that's funny," Morris said when asked if his team ever gets tired of beating the Trojans. "They're very competitive. It's always a good matchup."

Highland's Nick Thompson scored 11 points and had 15 rebounds. Allex Pulleyblank led the Trojans with 15, while Sytsma also had 11.

"We knew this was a big game," Hackett said. "It makes us 2-0 in conference and they could be a sectional opponent."


Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.