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The state playoffs don’t start until the second week of February, but No. 2 Morgan Park already is in postseason mode.
Tuesday, the Mustangs opened their bid for a Public League championship by trouncing Hope 98-11.
“It’s pretty big,” Morgan Park coach Thomas Johnson said of the city playoffs. “Everybody wants to be the queen or king of the city. I mean, everybody would want to be the queen or king of the state, but with the city you’ve got your rivalry schools, so it’s big to us.”
No. 1 on the list of rivals would have to be Young, which defeated the Mustangs 61-48 last season in the Public League title game.
Shami Goodman scored 19 points and made five steals in that contest for a Morgan Park team that was a bit short-handed, playing without, among others, standout Gabrielle Richmond.
“Last year Young went the whole season undefeated, which is astonishing, but we did have a lot of injuries going into that game,” Johnson said. “We haven’t forgotten (the loss). It’s still a little sting with us, and we’re very well-focused on accomplishing our goals.”
The Mustangs have been led by guard Kierra Graves, who is averaging 20 points per game.
“She’s a senior, and I think her light has come on,” Johnson said. “She understands this is her last season and she would like to go out with a bang.”
Reaching a milestone
Queen of Peace’s Hannah Lipman crossed the 1,000-point career mark Jan. 17 when she scored 22 points and added 10 rebounds and five assists against Resurrection. This season Lipman, a senior guard, is averaging 14.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.5 steals.
“She scores in so many different ways, that’s the thing with her,” Pride coach Mike Valente said. “There are some people who are just three-point shooters and there are others who just play in the post, but she does a little bit of everything. So she scores with every opportunity she gets.
“I think she’s going to continue this in college (Lipman has not committed). I don’t even think she’s tapped her full potential.”