Morgan Park had to play on without star junior Ayo Dosunmu after the first quarter but the Mustangs perserved without him as they defeated Lanphier, 60-53, on Friday afternoon in an IHSA Class 3A state semifinal in Peoria.
Dosunmu went down in the first quarter in the foot injury as he had to be carried from the locker room back to the bench for the rest of the game. Even without the all-state guard, Morgan Park (25-6) advanced to the state-title game as they have a chance to win their third title in five years on Saturday afternoon.
Senior Lenell Henry finished with 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Mustangs while guard Lamond Johnson added 10 points. Without Dosunmu, the Mustangs attacked the basket as much as possible as they finished with 33 free throw attempts -- knocking down 20 of them.
Lanphier (28-4) was led by Cardell McGee with 12 points while Aundrae Williams had 10 points. The Mustangs did a nice job of containing Lanphier senior guard Yaakema Rose as the high-scoring guard only finished with eight points on 4-for-17 shooting.
Morgan Park moves on to face Fenwick for the Class 3A title game as these were the two best Chicagoland Class 3A teams during the regular season. While both of these programs fell short of making Peoria last season, now they get to meet in a game that should feature a lot of intriguing storylines. It also looks like the Mustangs will have to forge on without Dosunmu as head coach Nick Irvin told CSN's Siera Santos that Dosunmu was done playing for now.
The Class 3A state championship game can be viewed live on CSN at approximately 12:45 p.m. as it will follow the Class 3A third-place game between Bloomington and Lanphier.
2016-17 record: 30-4, 8-2 Public League Red-South
Postseason results: Lost to Whitney Young in Class 4A Title Game
Players to watch: Senior Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State) is one of the area's premier two-way players. Senior forward Messiah Jones (Drake) is an elite leaper and rebounder. Talented junior guard KeJuan Clements is also back. The Wolverines also added some intriguing transfers in Xavier Pinson (St. Pat's) and Northwest Indiana native Zion Young. Both Pinson and Young have Division I interest and add even more perimeter firepower.
Why they're in the power rankings: On paper, you could argue that Simeon is the most talented team in the state this season. The Wolverines have proven veterans who have won city titles and Division I transfers at multiple positions. But how will all of the pieces fit together? This is a fascinating group with a high ceiling.
Did you know? Making it back to Peoria last season, Simeon has now made 13 state finals appearances.
2016-17 record: 23-5, 8-2 Public League Red-West
Postseason results: Won Class 2A State Championship.
Players to watch: Seniors Dannie Smith and Raekwon Drake are both major All-Area threats after strong junior seasons. Another senior, Ty Mosley, might actually be the best long-term college prospect of the group as he's pledged to Milwaukee for next season. Sharpshooter Brian Hernandez is another seasoned veteran who has a knack for making big plays.
Why they're in the power rankings: The Spartans return most of last season's Class 2A title team and they also added some key transfers in former Marian Catholic point guard Chase Adams and former Clark wing Demarius Splunge. While the Spartans should be the heavy favorites to repeat in Class 2A, they haven't made as much noise in the Public League Playoffs, which is why they're still behind some of the other schools in the preseason Power Rankings.
Did you know? Orr was absolutely dominant during its Class 2A title run last March as the Spartans won by an average of 21 points. Only one team, Uplift, even played Orr to within single digits and that was still a nine-point margin of victory.