Boys Basketball: Morgan Park wins first state championship in 37 years
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org March 16, 2013 6:08PM
Morgan Park sits with their first place 3A trophy. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 16, 2013 2:23AM
PEORIA — Few teams could survive a 9-of-32 shooting performance from their top three scorers and still find a way to win.
Few teams, however, have the talent of Morgan Park.
Cahokia was the latest opponent to find that out.
Despite those shooting woes, Morgan Park not only achieved victory in Saturday’s Class 3A championship game, it do so by a comfortable 15-point margin, 63-48, over Cahokia at the Peoria Civic Center.
The state championship is the first for the program since 1976.
“It feels so good,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “It’s a collective team effort and I’m just so happy for the players and the school.”
There was a brief spell where victory appeared in doubt.
Morgan Park built a 29-16 lead midway through the second quarter and appeared ready to blow Cahokia out of the arena.
Cahokia, however, used an 8-0 run to end the half to close within 29-24 at intermission and scored the first bucket of the second half to trail 29-26.
All of a sudden, it was a ballgame.
“They made their run and we just had to regroup,” Morgan Park guard Kyle Davis said.
Davis had a major hand in getting the Mustangs back on track. His hoop at the end of the third quarter allowed Morgan Park to open up a 37-31 lead.
The Mustangs then put the game away in the fourth, with Cahokia looking like a team running on fumes.
When Garrett, who finished 4-of-15 from the field, drove to the rim for a basket and got fouled, he let out a “Let’s (expletive) go, man!”
And go the Mustangs did.
In moments, the lead would swell to 49-31, compliments of a 14-0 run.
A bucket by Davis off a nice feed from Garrett and a three-point play by Lamont Walker highlighted the surge.
Davis took a nasty spill on a drive to the basket and was forced to leave the game for a few minutes. Freshman Charlie Moore stepped in and calmly canned both free throws to make it 41-31.
Garrett finished with a team high 14 points, while Markee Williams added 13 and Davis, who was 5-of-14 from the field, had 10.
“I knew my guys had my back, they always do,” said Garrett of his shooting woes. “We have so many weapons.”
One of those guys was Xzavier Taylor, who saved arguably his finest game of the season for the title game, registering 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“Xzavier stepped up,” Irvin said. “I’ve been waiting for ‘big fella’ to roll all year and he rolled at the right time.”
Morgan Park dominated the glass, holding a commanding 43-26 rebounding advantage. That helped offset a 22-of-56 effort from the field.
“We kept on attacking and the ball finally started to go down for us,” Irvin said. “I don’t care how many they (Garrett and Davis) miss, they have to keep shooting.”
The Mustangs put together an 8-0 run to end the first quarter ahead 17-9. That run extended into the second quarter when Taylor, who contributed eight points off the bench in the first half, canned a putback for a 19-9 lead.
“It was a tough game,” Cahokia coach Darian Nash said. “We just didn’t come out and do the little things to win the game. You got to have a perfect game against a team like that (Morgan Park).”