A risky decision reaped rewards Friday night.
Entering the final period with a seven-point lead, Morse coach Robert Sumler shook up his lineup.
“I went with a small group on the court,” Sumler said.
“I went with mostly guards and one big man. It was a tradeoff. You might give up some rebounds, but we will be faster in transition and be able to press more.”
His gamble worked. Morse prevailed 63-58 over host Mira Mesa despite a game-high 19 points from Marauders forward Ali Majidzada.
The Tigers (19-5, 4-1 Eastern League) extended their winning streak to three games.
“We faced a lot of adversity last week. We weren’t playing as a team. We were playing as individuals, but we came out and spread the basketball around tonight,” said Morse junior guard Jah’mere Mitchell, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
“I had a lot of confidence in my shot and had confidence my teammates would make plays for us.”
Earlier, Mira Mesa built two double-digit cushions — one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter. Morse didn’t panic as the pesky Tigers regained their composure and regained their shooting touch from the perimeter.
Mitchell’s 3-pointer with about four minutes to go in the third quarter put Morse up by two points. By the fourth quarter, it was relatively smooth sailing.
“We stuck with it,” Sumler said. “Persevering, having confidence and faith that we would eventually wear them down was key. They’re a tough team, tough team at home that will hit shots.”
Last-minute fouling extended the game, but it wasn’t enough to bring Mira Mesa (11-9, 2-3) back.
Said Mitchell: “This victory shows everyone around San Diego that we are capable of winning consistently.”