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HESSVILLE | Morton came in to Saturday's nonconference tilt against Merrillville averaging a robust 67.5 points per game.

But then the Times No. 6 Governors ran into a brick wall known as the Pirates defense.

No. 3 Merrillville held the normally high-flying Govs to just 14 points in the first half while forcing eight turnovers in the second quarter alone in its 65-47 win.

"We told them they needed to be ready tonight because Morton is a really good team," Merrillville coach Amy Govert said. "They did a good job of coming back in the second half, but overall it was a good victory for us."

Winners of four straight, the Pirates (9-2) also aren't a slouch offensively, as they score a little over 54 points a game. On Saturday, it was the inside-outside combo of junior guard Jasmine W‎right and senior forward Ashiala Jackson who carried the scoring load.

‎Jackson had 11 of her 17 in the first half and added nine boards.

Wright scored a game-high 20 and chipped in game highs of six assists and six steals.

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The guard was perfect from the floor in the third quarter, scoring eight of Merrillville's ‎17 points in the period and seven in the fourth.

"All we do is try to execute and play well as a team," Wright said. "We just have to come in ready to play, and defensively we tried to move on the perimeter, rotate, and trap."

Senior guard and Bishop Noll transfer Naomi ‎House paced Morton (10-2) with 15 points and four assists.

The Pirates now have a 10-day layoff before playing in one of the most difficult regular-season tournaments in the state. They will travel to Columbus North to compete in a field that includes state power Penn among others.

"We've had different step up every night and it'll be nice to give the kids some rest," Govert said, "but we'll still run a simulated game in practice to keep them sharp."

Morton has an even bigger time frame in which to rest, as it has two weeks off because of the holidays and will next play Morgan Township on Jan. 2.

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Sports Director

Hillary has covered prep, pro and college sports -- and even a Dixie Baseball World Series -- for newspapers north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1995.