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Girls Basketball: Morgan Park falls in Public League title game

Updated: March 4, 2013 6:42AM



Just call her “The Queen of Chicago.”

Linnae Harper had 14 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals to lead Whitney Young to its fifth consecutive Public League championship, a 73-62 win over No. 2 Morgan Park on Saturday at the Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University.

The city title was the fourth for the 5-foot-8 Kentucky-bound Harper.

“It means a lot,” she said. “This is my last year. All four years we won a city championship. I’m just trying to leave something for the following teams that are going to be here playing for Whitney Young. It’s a phenomenal program. I’m just trying to keep something going on.”

Harper got a lot of help from 6-5 junior Khaalia Hillsman, who dominated the smaller Mustangs with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and 5-7 senior guard Sydney Snower, who scored seven of her 12 points during a 13-0 third-quarter run that put the game out of reach.

“Khaalia is continuing to get better every day,” Whitney Young coach Corry Irvin said. “Sometimes she tries to do too much. But she’s getting almost to where we need her to be. As long as she continues to improve, I like our chances the rest of the way.”

Trailing 11-10 late in the first quarter, Young (22-4) went on a 19-3 run that included a three-pointer by sophomore Madinah Muhammad and a three-point play by Harper.

Three-pointers by Shami Goodman, Kiara Carter and Bhrea Griffin brought Morgan Park to within 37-25 at the break.

Another three-pointer by Goodman got Morgan Park to within 42-32 with 5:16 left in the third quarter, but Snower’s three and a Tanita Allen rebound basket capped a decisive 13-0 run for Young.

Allen added eight points and six rebounds for Young, which dominated Morgan Park on the boards.

“Size does matter, of course, and we didn’t have the size today,” Morgan Park coach T.J. Johnson said. “They’re huge. They’re a quality team. We didn’t lose to Little Sisters of the Poor. It hurts right now because you lose, but they won state last year in 4A. That’s where we’re trying to get.

“It was a great learning lesson,” he added.

Goodman, a 5-7 junior, led Morgan Park (20-3) with 20 points. Griffin, another junior, added 14 and Kierra Graves had eight.

Taylor Brame added eight points for Whitney Young.

“I think this one is special,” Harper said. “We had a rough beginning of the season with four losses and people thinking we’re not as good as last year. So this game really proved to us and our fans that we are really a good team and we’re as good as last year even though we lost five players.”



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