Boys Basketball: Stevenson defeats Morgan Park in Proviso West Holiday Tournament title game
By Michael O’Brien firstname.lastname@example.org December 31, 2013 8:58PM
Morgan Park's Josh Cunningham fires a shot over Stevenson's Thomas Imus. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 3, 2014 3:52PM
Unfortunately, the pivotal moment in the Proviso West Holiday Tournament championship game wasn’t a heroic buzzer-beater or a game-changing blocked shot.
It was a tussle, a dust-up.
Stevenson’s Matt Johnson and Morgan Park’s Torry Johnson got tangled up just past halfcourt. Matt Johnson took Torry Johnson to the floor using what looked like a wrestling move.
Both players were ejected from the game. Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin was called for a technical foul.
Morgan Park led by one at the time. It was Stevenson that responded with poise and confidence to the incident, rallying for a 67-55 win over the Mustangs.
“That altercation kind of changed the momentum of the game,” Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. “We kept our calm, we kept our cool.”
Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson drained both technical foul free throws, then made a three on the possession. The Patriots led 44-40, an advantage they never surrendered.
Brunson finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, but he shot just 7-of-21 from the field. Morgan Park defensive whiz Lamont Walker was able to contain him in the first half.
“They have a lot of shot blockers, guys that can jump,” Brunson said. “It was a big adjustment. We haven’t played that great of a team since Simeon.”
Connor Cashaw added 16 points and five rebounds and Matt Johnson finished with 10 points and four assists for the Patriots (13-0).
Stevenson played against the stereotype. It was the more physical team and was more than able to handle Morgan Park’s defensive pressure.
“(Matt Johnson) is a tough kid,” Ambrose said. “He’s been through a lot in his personal life.”
Charlie Moore led Morgan Park (10-2) with 12 points. Josh Cunningham scored 11 and grabbed 13 rebounds. Walker added 10 points and five boards and Kain Harris scored 11.
Cunningham, Morgan Park’s best player, picked up his fourth foul with 5:09 to play in the third quarter and headed to the bench until the fourth. The Mustangs were ice cold from beyond the arc, shooting just 2-of-16.
“(The referees) are flat-out cheating,” Irvin said. “It’s crazy. It looked like it’s personal. I don’t like for the kids to be treated like that.”
Morgan Park won the tournament last year. This was Stevenson’s first title.