- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Senior forward Brandi Bisping scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Saturday to lead Morton to its third consecutive girls 3A championship, beating Rochester 44-37.

The second-ranked Potters (34-2) are the fifth team in girls state finals history to win three in a row. No team has won four straight.

“I mean, the first one hasn’t even set in yet,” Bisping said. “Let alone the third one.”

Angela Perry led Rochester (32-4) with 15 points, while Lyric Boone and Aubrey Magro each added 6 points.

The game was close throughout, with Morton leading 16-15 at the half. The Potters went on a 9-0 run and took the lead for good 27-25 on the second Bisping three-pointer in the final three minutes of the third period.

Morton then played slow-down and drew fouls in the final minutes of the game. The Potters were 10-18 from the foul line, while the Rockets were 2-3.

“If you were to ask Brandi, she would tell you she was disappointed at her foul shooting late,” Morton coach Bob Becker said of his star forward, who went 5-10 from the line. “But she came up with some big field goals for us when we needed them.”

Rochester coach J.R. Boudouris was not available for comment after the game.

The Rockets outscored the Potters 22-8 in the paint, thanks mainly to Perry, while Morton scored 11 points off turnovers and 15 second-chance points following offensive rebounds.

The score changed hands five times throughout the game, and was tied four times.

“Everything mattered,” Becker said. “Everybody on the team found something positive to contribute, from the players on the floor to the bench. It was a very special thing.”

Morton, only 30 miles from Normal, had a large contingent of fans on hand.

“We really didn’t want to let down the community,” Becker said. “It’s just hard to describe how tough and gritty these kids are. I’ve been so spoiled to have them. They just stayed at a consistently high level all year. It really was amazing.”

Morton beat Simeon 56-41 in Friday’s semifinal round to advance to the championship, while Rochester defeated Marshall 46-35.

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