With Morton on the verge of an epic collapse, Greg Carter put his cape on.
The Mustang senior guard scored 21 of his 35 points in three scintillating overtimes, twice forcing extra sessions in the final seconds as No. 4 seed Morton beat No. 1 York 77-74 in a Class 4A Bartlett Sectional semifinal after blowing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead.
“I had to do it, put my team on my back,” Carter said. “We weren’t ready to go home.”
Morton (22-5) had won 12 straight coming in, beat York (25-6) 81-57 two weeks ago and held a seemingly commanding 46-30 lead going into the fourth quarter on the strength of a 14-2 run.
But York scored the first 13 points of the quarter, and forced the first overtime on Jack Heinle’s rebound basket with 19 seconds left.
The Dukes appeared to have the game won in the first overtime when Jayvon Thomas, who scored 18 points, hit two free throws for a 59-57 lead.
Carter went the length of the court and was fouled by York’s Frank Toohey on a desperation heave that was at first ruled a three. Carter made both foul shots.
“I thought that was a tough call that went against us by one of the best officials in the state,” York coach Vince Doran said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Carter wasn’t done, going coast-to-coast for a tying layup with 6.8 seconds left in the second overtime.
Two Carter free throws with 2:05 in the third extra session gave his team the lead for good.
“Greg was unbelievable,” Morton coach Tony Martinucci said. “He took the game over.”
Thomas had 18 points and seven rebounds – scoring nine in the fourth quarter. Stanley Roberts scored 17 and Toohey 15.
The Dukes had one last chance, but Charlie Rose’s off-balance three missed as time expired.
“I’m very proud of my kids. They showed a lot of heart,” Doran said. “This is the toughest loss I’ve ever been associated with.”
Jarvis Cannon scored 14 and Weisner Perez 12 for Morton, which plays either Proviso East or Glenbard North Friday for the school’s first sectional title since 1961.
Martinucci might need three days to get over this one.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time,” he said,” and that was one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen or been around.”