Preps Talk

Morgan Park rallies to beat Fenwick in overtime for Class 3A title

Morgan Park rallies to beat Fenwick in overtime for Class 3A title

PEORIA -- Morgan Park rallied from 11 points down in the fourth quarter to capture its third state championship in five years as the Mustangs knocked off Fenwick, 69-67, in overtime to claim the IHSA Class 3A boys basketball title on Satuday. 

Playing without star junior guard Ayo Dosunmu (foot injury), the Mustangs persevered behind a balanced effort as freshman guard Nimari Burnett came up with a number of clutch shots.

Morgan Park head coach Nick Irvin has a history of playing freshmen guards during important games ever since he rode the all-freshmen backcourt of Markee Williams and Billy Garrett Jr. to a Public League Playoff title in 2010. Burnett is the latest example of a newcomer coming through in the clutch for the Mustangs.

Coming off the bench after Morgan Park started the game with three big men, Burnett finished with 24 points on 6-for-10 three-point shooting as the freshman gave a huge lift for a Morgan Park team looking for anyone to replace Dosunmu's scoring.

"A lot of people doubted us once Ayo went down. They said we didn't have a team. These guys up here with me showed that we've had a team all year," Irvin said.

"Nimari has been making big shots for us all year. What I've been trying to tell him is just to be patient. We knew his day would come."

Senior Cam Irvin added 12 points for Morgan Park, including two big free throws to make it a two-possession game with 9.6 seconds left in overtime. On the interior, Morgan Park did a good job of slowly wearing down a smaller Fenwick team as Melo Burrell (nine points, 10 rebounds) and Lenell Henry (five points, eight rebounds) both stayed active throughout the game.

Catholic-League champion Fenwick looked like they might be able to run away with this game when they led by 11 points with 5:39 left in the fourth quarter. Late in the third quarter, Morgan Park's Lamond Johnson was whistled for a technical foul as it helped the Friars to a 13-0 run between the third and fourth quarters.

Fenwick was also led by a standout freshman on Saturday as guard D.J. Steward paced the Friars with 26 points while going 10-for-10 from the field. Although Steward had a monster game and A.J. Nixon added 14 points, the rest of Fenwick's offense was inconsistent. Senior Jacob Keller (eight points, five rebounds, four assists) had a decent floor game but couldn't find his scoring touch while senior Jamal Nixon was held to five points and four rebounds. Both seniors fouled out and couldn't help Fenwick in overtime.

"We're very disappointed because we had a chance to win a state championship and just didn't make plays down the stretch," Fenwick head coach Rick Malnati said. "We're not disappointed in anything else. We're not disappointed in our effort, not disappointed in our team. We had an opportunity and let it slip away. And it's hard. It's hard to deal with."

The Class 3A state-title game loss was particularly difficult for Keller, the starting quarterback of the Fenwick football team that saw its season end in controversial fasion during the Class 7A state playoffs. With two tight losses deep in the playoffs during his senior season, Keller ultimately couldn't end his career with a state championship despite being one of the best two-sport athletes the area has seen over the last few years. 

"I think down the line, yeah, (I'll be proud of what I accomplished my senior year). But that won't be anytime soon." Keller said.

The Mustangs (27-6) also won state championships in 2013 and 2014 while taking third place in Class 3A in 2015. Those titles all hold a special meaning to Morgan Park but this title without Dosunmu might be the most special title that Irvin has won during his coaching career. 

With Dosunmu and Burnett both returning next season, Morgan Park is once again going to be a major favorite in Class 3A. The Mustangs will try to win back-to-back state titles for the second time in a six-year span. 

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?              

NBC Sports Chicago and Wintrust present our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of passionate high school basketball followers. Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00 p.m. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive and appears in the MyTeams app.  High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. 

This week, we're going to get a taste of the Chicago Public League/White division. Which game should we attend for High School Lites?

Mather at Foreman, 5:00 p.m.

Jones at Wells, 5:00 p.m.

Perspectives-MSA at Raby, 6:30 p.m.

To participate, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

**Follow our NBC Sports Chicago preps Twitter page: @NBCSPreps.

**Note the pinned tweet that is atop the feed.

**Vote for the game you want NBC Sports Chicago to cover Friday night.

**Spread the word!

The poll will start promptly at 12:00 p.m. Monday. We will make an announcement with the official results on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights, all season long.

Bloom is new No. 1 in latest boys basketball Preps Power Rankings

Bloom is new No. 1 in latest boys basketball Preps Power Rankings

The latest Preps Power Rankings see some shakeups thanks to the previous No. 1 team losing and some top-25 matchups.

The new No. 1 is Bloom as they continue to look like the best team in the state early this season. The rest of the Power Rankings saw minimal shakeup, with only three new teams -- two of which were in the preseason rankings.

1. Bloom (7-0, 2-0) (2) -- The Blazing Trojans continue a strong start with a blowout win at the Chicago Elite Classic over Pace and two Southland wins over Kankakee and Thornridge. Balanced efforts and multiple guys taking over is a huge early storyline with Bloom.

2. Bogan (7-0, 2-0) (6) -- Placing themselves firmly in the No. 1 discussion with a home win over Morgan Park, this is another tough Bogan team that can win in multiple ways. The Bengals get tested with league games against Corliss and No. 8 Simeon. 

3. Morgan Park (3-1, 1-1) (1) -- The Mustangs fell to No. 2 Bogan in league play before bouncing back with an overtime win over Christian Brothers in the Chicago Elite Classic. Junior Brandon Weston continues a strong start while senior Adam Miller remains the area's biggest game changer offensively.

4. Whitney Young (2-2, 2-0) (3) -- The Dolphins fell to Duncanville with a late-game collapse in the Chicago Elite Classic but they knocked off Farragut and Marshall in the Public League. Whitney Young traveling to No. 11 Lincoln Park will be one of the marquee games to watch this week. 

5. Curie (4-0, 2-0) (4) -- Going 2-0 in Public League play and winning at the prestigious Marshall County Hoop Fest, the Condors continue a strong start. Curie gets two major local tests this week with No. 3 Morgan Park and No. 22 Hillcrest. 

6. Stevenson (5-0) (5) -- Solid win on the road for the Patriots over Westinghouse. Stevenson will get tested three times this week as they face Libertyville, Zion-Benton and OPRF. 

7. Evanston (6-0, 1-0) (13) -- Firmly placing themselves in the top ten with a win over Notre Dame, Wildkits were very impressive. Juniors Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson are the headliners but Evanston has plenty of other dangerous options.

8. Simeon (1-1, 1-0) (7) -- The Wolverines started the season with a balanced effort to knock off Lindblom before falling to St. Frances in the Chicago Elite Classic. Simeon will battle No. 2 Bogan in a huge Public League clash this week.

9. Marian Catholic (5-1, 1-0) (9) -- The Spartans won by double digits in both games, taking down Marist and Normal West. The ESCC's top spot is on the line when Marian Catholic plays Notre Dame on Tuesday. 

10. Loyola (6-0, 2-0) (10) -- Loyola went unscathed in the Catholic League with wins over Leo and Montini. The Ramblers get a major battle with No. 13 Notre Dame this week in non-conference play. 

11. Lincoln Park (6-1, 2-0) (11) -- The Lions battled to three wins as they held off Westinghouse and Kenwood on back-to-back days. Lincoln Park gets major tests during the week with league games against No. 17 Orr and No. 4 Whitney Young.

12. Lake Park (6-0, 1-0) (12) -- Nice week for the Lancers with a conference win over Batavia and an additional victory over Rockford Lutheran. Lake Park faces Larkin and Wheaton North this week.

13. Notre Dame (6-1) (8) -- A setback for Notre Dame with a loss to Evanston in the Chicago Elite Classic. A very talented team that is still figuring out how to play together, the Dons have a very high ceiling.

14. Thornton (5-0, 2-0) (14) -- Nice week for the Wildcats with wins over Rich South and Crete-Monee. Junior Brandon Hall continues to look like a potential standout player. Huge matchup with No. 1 Bloom with the Southland's top spot on the line this week.

15. DePaul Prep (5-1, 2-0) (16) -- Defense was the major story for the Rams this week in two blowout wins in Catholic League play. DePaul Prep plays Mount Carmel and Providence in league play this week.

16.  Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1) (17) -- Two double-digit wins for Homewood-Flossmoor this week as the Vikings are playing well. They play Lincoln-Way Central this week before a big clash with Simeon looms.  

17. Orr (2-1) (18) -- Opening the season this week, the Spartans claimed a solid road win at Danville, a win over Farragut and a loss to Texas powerhouse Duncanville. The Spartans are getting solid early production from senior Demarius Splunge.

18. Bolingbrook (3-1) (19) -- Kai Evans continues a strong start as the Raiders ran past Lincoln-Way West. Bolingbrook has a busy week with four games on the schedule -- including a trip to Iowa for two games.  

19. Glenbrook South (6-0, 1-0) (20) -- After two more challenges, the Titans remain unbeaten. Nice wins during the week against Hersey and in overtime against New Trier has Glenbrook South flying high. 

20. Mundelein (6-0) (21) -- The Mustangs weren't challenged much this week with two double-digit wins. Mundelein gets two North Suburban home games this week against Lake Forest and Waukegan.

21. Fenwick (5-1, 2-0) (23) -- The evolution of sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew continues for the Friars. Opposing teams now have to worry about slowing down Bryce Hopkins first and stopping Pettigrew as well. Nice win over OPRF in the Chicago Elite Classic.

22. Hillcrest (3-2, 1-0) (24) -- Quality win for the Hawks taking down a talented Oak Lawn team on the road. The return of junior guard Mar'Kiese Irving is a big addition that gives the Hawks additional perimeter scoring. 

23. Niles North (6-1, 1-0) (NR) -- An impressive week for the Vikings with wins over Deerfield and Joliet West. They're back in the Power Rankings after dropping out only a week as senior Aquan Smart continues to be an All-Area candidate.

24. St. Charles North (6-1, 1-0) (NR) -- Three wins during the week has the North Stars back in the top 25. St. Charles North had solid wins over DeKalb and Wheaton North.

25. Hinsdale South (6-0, 1-0) (NR) -- The Hornets haven't been tested much to this point but Aaron Tims and Billy Durkin are off to solid starts. Big matchup against Willowbrook during the week.