Preps Talk

Showdown: Mustangs rally to beat Rock Island


Showdown: Mustangs rally to beat Rock Island

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011
10:56 p.m.

By Steve Tucker

Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin had Saturdays matchup with Rock Island on his mind since the game was announced.

In a battle of Class 3A powers, the Mustangs rallied from an early deficit and hung on to beat Rock Island 57-54 before a full house in the City-Suburban Showdown Saturday at the UIC Pavilion.

This was a game I really looked forward to, Irvin said. I think that we played good for 26 minutes after a bad start, we picked it up and played hard. I think were good right now and our guards, Markee Williams Billy Garrett Jr. and Jerome Brown played great.

The No. 4 Mustangs (16-6) built a 52-43 lead with just over two minutes to play before Rock Island battled back with a 9-2 run to get within 54-52 with 42.4 seconds to play. After Russell Smith made two free throws for Morgan Park, Romal Davis got loose inside to get the Rocks back within two.

Morgan Park missed 3 of 4 free throws in the last 26.7 seconds, but Wayne Blackshear (18 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks) made one, and also had a huge block at the basket and Stanford-bound Chasson Randle (13 points, eight rebounds), who became the third player from the Western Big 6 to score 2,000 career points on Friday night, missed from half court as time expired.

This was a big game and I wanted to do whatever I could for the team, Blackshear said. We wanted to come our aggressive and we did.

Garrett scored 12 for the Mustangs while Denzel McCauley led Rock Island with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

We did what we wanted to do, but had too many silly turnovers, Rocks coach Thom Sigel said. We kind of thought, win, lose or draw, wed know more by playing this game.

After Morgan Park took an early 8-6 lead on a Blackshear jam, the Rocks, which had a 10-game winning streak snapped, closed the first quarter with a 10-4 run as Keith Keesy scored four including a layup at the buzzer that made it 16-12 Rock Island.

After the Mustangs got even at 16 on a free throw by Blackshear, the Rocks went on a 12-2 tear to go up 30-20 after a three-pointer by Randle. But Morgan Park closed with an 8-1 tear that included back-to-back three-pointers from Brown and Williams to get within 31-28 at the break.

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

High School Lites had a busy show as it was the final week of the regular season for IHSA boys basketball Class 3A and 4A. The Class 1A and 2A playoffs also tipped in boys basketball as the show has some thrilling regional titles that were decided in the final minute. And finally, the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals were played on Friday as the state's top teams played in Bloomington.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Richards wrestler Mia Palumbo

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Simeon boys basketball


Marshall shocks Leo in Class 2A regional final

Aurora Christian runs past Harvert Christian for 1A regional title

Buzzer-beater lifts Monticello over Gibson City for regional title

Jacobs goes unbeaten in Fox Valley with win over Dundee-Crown

West Aurora gets by rival East Aurora

Yorkville completes season sweep of DeKalb

Lemont escapes past T.F. North

Marshall needs OT to get past Teutopolis in girls 2A semifinals

Harlan takes down Eureka in 2A semifinals

Stockton runs by Okaw Valley in 1A

Schlarman races by Lebanon

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.