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2/13/13 Chicago-Morgan Parks Billy Garrett shoots against Simeon. Stacia Timonere/for Sun Times Media
Morgan Park had to score, there was no other option. Things didn’t look good. Senior guard Kyle Davis was trapped in the corner, with the final seconds in overtime ticking away.
Davis somehow got the ball to Josh Cunningham, who found Billy Garrett Jr. wide open just past center court.
Suddenly, a busted play was perfect. Garrett exploded to the hoop, scoring with 11 seconds to give No. 2 Morgan Park the victory it had craved all season long, a 54-53 win over rival Simeon in the semifinals of the Public League playoffs Wednesday at Chicago State.
“It was sort of a broken play,” Garrett Jr. said. “Kyle kinda lost his dribble, Josh got it and he found me.”
Simeon senior Jabari Parker had a chance to win the game, but his baseline jumper with 0.9 seconds to play didn’t fall.
“It’s not the worst thing in the world,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “We are still going to wake up in the morning tomorrow. You can’t win them all.”
Davis led the Mustangs (26-2) with 15 points. Garrett finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Markee Williams, who teamed with Garrett to win the city title as freshmen three years ago, played one of his best games of the season with 12 points.
Williams scored seven points in the first five minutes of the game, setting the tone early for Morgan Park.
“Markee told me at the beginning of the city tournament that he was going to help bring another one home,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said.
Parker finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. The final shot was the only one he attempted in overtime. He shot 4-for-17 from the field in the game.
Kendall Pollard scored 11 for Simeon (22-3), but fouled out and did not play in the overtime. Kendrick Nunn finished with 10 points and Jaylon Tate had nine.
Morgan Park’s bigs were productive. Cunningham had four points and eight rebounds. Lamont Walker scored five and grabbed six rebounds and Xzavier Taylor added six boards off the bench.
Unlike the first meeting between the teams, which Simeon won, the Mustangs attacked the basket instead of settling for three point shots.
“The last game we took way too many jump shots,” Irvin said. “We knew we couldn’t do that again.”
Morgan Park will face Young in the title game on Friday at Chicago State.