PEORIA, Ill. — Morgan Park received contributions from up and down its lineup this season. It was no different in the IHSA Class 3A boys basketball state title game on Saturday, as the Mustangs had four players score in double figures in a 63-48 win against Cahokia.
Led by 14 points from DePaul recruit Billy Garrett, 13 from Markee Williams, 11 from Xzavier Taylor and 10 from Dayton recruit Kyle Davis, Morgan Park (33-3) won its second state title and first since 1976.
Leading 37-31 after three quarters, Morgan Park went on a 12-0 run to push its lead to 18 and never was threatened again. Garrett wasn’t concerned.
“I trusted in our guys,” he said. “(Coach Nick Irvin) trusted in us just like he has all season.
“You know, once we got a little momentum, we were good. It just took a little while.”
It helped that shots that were just missing early in the second half started falling.
“We were getting good looks but missing chip shots,” Irvin said. “We kept attacking and kept attacking, then Billy and Kyle woke up and we pulled away.”
The Mustangs held a slim 29-24 lead at halftime despite destroying Cahokia on the boards.
Cahokia had just eight rebounds in the first half, compared to 23 for Morgan Park, and the Mustangs out-rebounded the Comanches 43-26 overall.
“It was something we were definitely trying to do,” said Taylor, who had 12 rebounds, including seven offensive. “Coach said they weren’t very good on the glass and that was how we would beat them. We got a lot of second chances.”
The Comanches didn’t get their first offensive board until early in the third quarter and that was a team board when an errant shot ended up out of bounds after touching a Morgan Park player. The Mustangs grabbed 24 offensive rebounds, including 12 in the first half. Cahokia had just 26 rebounds total and nine on the offensive glass.
“When you can’t score, it’s a problem,” Cahokia coach Darian Nash said. “We just didn’t do the little things. They outrebounded us. you’re not going to win many games like that.”
Cahokia (33-4) was led by nine points each from Carleton Rivers and Vincent Jackson Jr. Darius Austin and Keenan Minor added eight points apiece.
Irvin said Davis, a transfer from Chicago Hyde Park, was a catalyst in the title run.
“I said when Kyle walked in the door that we were going to be state champions,” Irvin said. “Between Markee, Billy and Kyle, it’s the best trio of guards to ever come out of the state of Illinois.”