HAMMOND | Anyone who went to Hessville on Wednesday night expecting the same old-same old got a rude awakening.
The fans who expected a repeat of last year's 108-68 beatdown by Bowman Academy over Morton were surprised. Well, shocked really.
The Eagles did not look like the defending Class 2A state runner-ups and the Govs did not look like a team that lost their first five games of this season.
Without the play of senior Antonio Pipkin, Bowman would not have survived the 80-70 win. Pipkin scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the second half to heat up an Arctic-cold shooting night for Bowman (10-8), winners of 8-of-their-last 9 games.
Pipkin scored the last seven points of the game for the Eagles. Most all coming inside the paint.
“We were sluggish and I don't know why,” Pipkin said. “Our defense wasn't very good. We weren't getting stops. I found the zone in their defense and I knew I had to get it done in the paint.”
Morton (9-10) got a big game from Rayan Elabed, who scored 23 points. The Govs were only down three with three minutes left then Pipkin took over the game. He also had nine rebounds and nine steals.
“We didn't play well at all,” Bowman coach Marvin Rea said. “We need to find out if these ticky-tack fouls are real or not. They were shooting free throws in the first quarter. We've got two weeks to get it right or we're going to have a short season.”
Bowman led 34-32 at halftime, but the Eagles weren't flying real high. A nine-point lead disappeared in the final four minutes of the second quarter with some poor shot selection and untimely turnovers. Bowman had 11 at the half.
Then, Elabed nailed a 3-pointer and was fouled, hitting the free throw to get the Govs within three.
Morton coach Kevin Dermody knew his team played well. The Govs were just a couple of plays here and there away from the upset. Morton missed eight free throws in the first half.
The Govs, with point guard Devon Mingo on the bench with foul trouble in the third quarter, allowed the Eagles to go on a 13-3 run because of several turnovers that turned into layups.
"Our guys played with a chip on their shoulder," Dermody said. "We missed too many free throws and we had that span in the third quarter where they got away from us.
"I'm real proud of the way we played."