MORRIS — It was senior night for the Morris girls basketball team Friday evening, but it was a freshman who stole the show.
First-year player Landrie Callahan posted an amazing double-double of 32 points and 20 rebounds – including a whopping 26 tallies in the second half – to lead Morris to its first Interstate Eight Conference victory of the season, a 53-44 triumph over Plano.
“It was a pretty special night for our seniors, and I just wanted to do my part in order for them to go out winners,” Callahan said. “We also needed to get our first conference victory, so I was very happy with the way the game turned out.”
Callahan shot 9 of 14 from the floor with one 3-pointer as well as a stellar 13-of-16 effort from the free-throw line. She also corralled eight offensive rebounds and 12 defensive boards as Morris (8-19, 1-11 I-8) finally broke into the league win column, with the freshman firmly in command of the proceedings.
“Plano had a lot more energy than we did in the first half, and then after that Landrie had a huge burst where nobody could stop her,” Morris coach Nick Virgl said. “She’s a special player, and I love watching her get the ball and perform. She certainly carried us on her young shoulders tonight.
“And to think we’ve got her for another three years? Wow!”
Morris also saw nine points off the hands of junior Makenna Boyle, as it shot 17 of 43 (40%) off the floor with Callahan inflicting most of the damage.
Plano (8-18, 1-11 I-8) received a team-best 10 points from senior Ryssa Woodhouse and eight markers from classmate Mikayla Walls.
But the Reapers just couldn’t contend with Morris’ freshman phenom.
“I was playing P-I-G with [Callahan] before the game started, and she’s a very nice and talented young lady,” Plano coach Tristan Spivey said. “After tonight, I don’t think I’ll ever play P-I-G with her again. What a special performance, and I told our girls I was super proud of them, but what can you say? Callahan’s an amazing basketball player.”
Plano owned an 11-6 lead after one quarter and 21-15 advantage at halftime as Callahan could register only six points. From there the freshman absolutely came unhinged, scoring 11 consecutive markers in the third stanza to turn a 27-20 Plano lead into a 31-27 Morris advantage with just over eight minutes left to contest.
“I wanted the ball, and my teammates got it to me,” Callahan said. “I think I started with a 3-pointer, and from there I just wanted to keep scoring, and we finally got the lead.”
She’d add 12 more markers in the final frame including a pair of free throws with 5:45 to go that gave Morris its biggest lead of the ballgame at 41-30. Plano would close the gap to 43-40 after a 10-2 run and five points from Woodhouse with 2:30 left to play, but Callahan would connect on 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch along with two charity tosses from Boyle, and Morris celebrated its freshman-led senior night victory.
“It was a special game for our seniors, and it was for me too,” Callahan said. “I don’t think I’ll forget it soon with a lot of my family here. But we still have a bunch of work to do before the season ends.”