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Bolingbrook's Shay Robinson (22) blocks Morgan Park's Kierra Graves (5) during Saturday's game between Bolingbrook and Morgan Park high schools. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Despite their 5-1 record and top 25 ranking coming into Saturday’s game against No. 7 Bolingbrook, Morgan Park’s Kierra Graves wanted a chance for the No. 16 Mustangs to prove themselves.
For the senior guard, that chance came at the free throw line.
Hitting three of four free throws in the final 25 seconds, Graves’ 27 points helped lead Morgan Park to the 64-60 upset at the City Suburban Showcase at Chicago State University.
“This is huge because we’ve been waiting to play someone like this,” Graves said. “We were pumped to play them, and we came out and did what we have to do.”
It was Bolingbrook’s first loss to a team in Illinois other than Whitney Young since 2007, a loss to Fenwick in the 2A championship game.
Graves finished 15-of-22 from the charity stripe overall for Morgan Park (6-1). She struggled in the third, hitting 5-of-9, but connected on 7-of-10 in the fourth.
“At the end, I was able to hit them,” Graves said. “It was a close game and a lot of pressure, but coach (Thomas Johnson) always has us shoot a lot of free throws before practice ends.”
Bolingbrook trailed by as many as seven points in the fourth but in a fast-paced frame was able to cut the deficit late to 59-58 on a Destiny Harris baseline drive. Graves charged down the court and scored on an easy drive down the lane as a follow-up.
After a Bolingbrook turnover, Graves split two free throws with 31 seconds left to put the Mustangs up 62-58.
Shay Robinson hit two free throws with 23 seconds to go, but Graves had another answer, connecting on two more free throws with 18 seconds left. Bolingbrook couldn’t convert a layup and missed two free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
“We have to do the little things to beat people,” Johnson said. “The little, small things like taking care of the ball, boxing out and running the floor.”
Amarah Coleman (17 points) and Aysia Bugg (15) led Bolingbrook (7-3).
“It comes down to heart,” Bolingbrook coach Anthony Smith said. “You have to be able to execute. It’s tough, but in the end, it’s a little tougher to hit that layup at the end of the game.”