White Sox

Gray, Brooks knock out Morgan Park

Gray, Brooks knock out Morgan Park

Sunday, March 13, 2011
12:52 a.m.

By Tim Cronin
Yourseason.com

Brooks' Keith Gray wasn't supposed to play on Friday night. A hyperextended left knee was supposed to keep him out of the Class 3A sectional final against Morgan Park.

Then the phone of Brooks coach Bobby Locke rang. It was Gray's father with good news.

"He wants to play," Locke was told. "It's his decision."

It was a bold one, backed up with similar play on the court, play that helped Brooks to a 60-46 victory over Morgan Park before about 1,700 fans at Rich South. Gray scored 10 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked three shots, an emotional leader.

"I've been in pain the whole month," Gray said. "I said (tonight) it really didn't hurt, so he said, 'Go ahead and play.' "

The pain melted away during the game, during which Brooks (24-3) built an 11-point lead, only to see the Mustangs, led by Wayne Blackshear's 14 points, claw their way back. The lead had been trimmed to 41-37 on Blackshear's drive to the basket with 1:30 left in the third. Only then, after a 9-2 outburst, did Locke call time.

"The reason I went so long is because I have so many seniors," Locke said. "I don't have to get on them as much as they get on each other."

The result of the tempest in the huddle was an 11-point run that put the Public League champions ahead to stay, though the Mustangs (20-7), despite being rebounded 42-17, pulled within six points with 1:15 left, causing a few Eagles fans to worry.

There were no worries for Brooks at the end.

"With the exception of Wayne, they don't have rebounders," Locke said. "You make him over out to the perimeter and make him shoot jump shots, and everybody (on Brooks) goes to the boards. That's what we did. Our main priority was to get the first rebound."

Priority accomplished.

"Everybody had us as the underdogs," Gray said. "We came and showed 'em we were the winning team tonight."

Brother Kevin Gray added 13 points to go with 10 rebounds for Brooks, which was led by George Marshall's 18 points.

Now there's another decision for Gray, and Locke, to ponder.

"He probably won't play on Tuesday," Locke said, thinking ahead to Tuesday's supersectional against Lindblom.

Of course, that's what Locke thought going into Friday's game.

For Morgan Park, the loss closes Blackshear's high school career prematurely. Double-teamed much of the game, he still paced the Mustangs.

"I wish I had him with me the rest of my career," Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said.

"Coming this close, it hurts," Blackshear said. "They were probably more aggressive on the boards than us."

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory. 

There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not. 

To the rankings! 

YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE MLB POWER RANKINGS RIGHT HERE

72 Days To Kickoff: West Aurora

72 Days To Kickoff: West Aurora

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: West Aurora

Head coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant coaches: Tony Melchiori (DC), Patrick Stremel (LB), Bob Fowler (DL), Charlie Graves (DB), Tim Phelps (OL/DL), Mike Runge (OL), Ron Murphy (QB), Alex Shaw (WR) and Joe Howell (RB).

How they fared in 2018: 9-2 (8-1 Upstate Eight Conference). West Aurora made the 8A state football playoff and beat South Elgin in the opening round. They lost to Edwardsville in second round action.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Plainfield South
Sept. 6 @ Plainfield East
Sept. 13 vs Joliet Central
Sept. 20 @ Romeoville
Sept. 27 @ Yorkville
Oct. 4 vs Oswego
Oct. 11 vs. Plainfield North
Oct. 18 @ Minooka  
Oct. 25 vs Oswego East

[MORE: 93 Days to Kickoff - Oswego East]

Biggest storyline: A new home in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Can the Blackhawks fare well and keep up their winning ways with a step up in competition?

Names to watch this season: QB Will Tammaru (Sr.) and DE Matt Johnson (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks will welcome back 13 returning starters (seven offense, six defense) and feature several multi-year starters. Standout defensive lineman Denver Warren has transferred to Brother Rice. How will roster depth play a role? Overall numbers can be better for every high school program-- including West Aurora.
 
EDGY's Early Take: Coach Nate Eimer's Blackhawks depart the Upstate Eight and enter the Southwest Prairie. The program has had great success the last four seasons (all playoff berths), with 30 wins to their credit. The program had 30 wins total between 2005-14. West Aurora is pretty stacked with talent and is expected to challenge the upper tier of the newly-realigned league. They look to get back into the state playoff field for the fifth straight season and make a deeper run come November.