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Boys Basketball: Morgan Park erases Hillcrest for Class 3A state semfinal berth

Morgan Park coach Nick Irvhis team celebrate after beating Hillcrest for Class 3A Joliet Central Supersectional. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times

Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin and his team celebrate after beating Hillcrest for the Class 3A Joliet Central Supersectional. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 14, 2013 6:27AM



Morgan Park outran, outquicked, outjumped and outrebounded Hillcrest in Tuesday night’s Class 4A Joliet Central Supersectional.

It showed on the scoreboard.

“The game plan was to come out and attack. Man, I wanted to make history (Tuesday), and I guess we did,” senior Kyle Davis said after the Mustangs lit up the Hawks in a 77-44 rout that sends them on their first trip to the state finals since 2001.

Davis led the way for Morgan Park (31-3) with 19 points and eight rebounds, all of the points coming in the first half. Lamont Walker (14 points), Josh Cunningham (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Xzavier Taylor (10 points) also were among the leaders for the Mustangs.

Devin Harrison was tops for Hillcrest (24-7) with 12 points.

The game essentially was decided in the second quarter.

Hillcrest, which led just once at 2-0, appeared to get a big boost of momentum at the end of the first period when Harrison, 21 feet out on the right side, hit a buzzer-beating turnaround three-pointer to get the Hawks to within 17-14.

Hillcrest even got the ball back after Morgan Park missed on its first possession of the second period. But it would be nearly four minutes before the Hawks would score, on a shot by Taylor Adway that drew a goaltending call on Morgan Park.

“Everybody thinks that it’s always our offense, but our defense is the main part of our team,” Davis said.

The Mustangs, meanwhile, started the second quarter with an 8-0 run, three of their four baskets coming on extra chances.

The putback prowess didn’t stop there.

On another possession later in the period, Morgan Park missed twice off the glass, but treated the play like a warmup drill, with the third man, Walker, laying the ball in.

On another, Davis missed on a shot, only to have Cunningham cruise in behind him for a rebound and slam dunk.

“You know, I just told them we’ve got to protect glass if we want to make it downstate,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “They did that.”

A repeat three at the end of the half might have helped Hillcrest’s cause, but the Hawks missed on their last two chances. Morgan Park turned a 14-point edge into something more on their two shots, scoring on a running bank-in by Davis and a layup by Walker.

It was 39-21 at the intermission, with Davis providing nearly half of the Mustangs’ points.

“I talked to coach Nick eighth period of the school day,” Davis said. “He told me, ‘Man, can I get the old Kyle Davis back? The one who can score, play defense, all of that?’ I wanted to show that I’m still here, I’ve still got it.”

The Mustangs finished the game with 10 extra-chance baskets, and led by as many as 35 points. They outrebounded the Hawks 38-21.

“They’re a very tough, aggressive team,” Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. “They came out and they played pretty aggressive from beginning to end. I have to give them a lot of credit. They did a great job.”



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