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Unfortunately, the pivotal moment in the Proviso West Holiday Tournament championship game wasn't a heroic buzzer-beater or a game-changing blocked shot.
It was a tussle, a dust-up.
Stevenson's Matt Johnson and Morgan Park's Torry Johnson got tangled up just past half court. Matt Johnson took Torry Johnson to the floor using what looked like a wrestling move.
Both players were ejected from the game and Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin was called for a technical foul.
Morgan Park, the defending champions, led by one at the time. It was No. 1 Stevenson that responded with poise and confidence to the incident, rallying for a 67-55 win over the No. 5-ranked Mustangs.
"That altercation kind of changed the momentum of the game," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We kept our calm, we kept our cool."
Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson drained both technical foul free throws and then made a three on the possession. The Patriots led 44-40, a lead they never surrendered.
Brunson finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, but he shot just 7-for-21 from the field. Morgan Park defensive whiz Lamont Walker was able to contain him in the first half.
"They have a lot of shot blockers, guys that can jump," Brunson said. "It was a big adjustment. We haven't played that great of a team since Simeon."
Connor Cashaw added 16 points and five rebounds and Johnson finished with 10 points and four assists to lead the Patriots to their first Proviso West title.
Stevenson (13-0) played against the stereotype. They were the more physical team and were more than able to handle Morgan Park's defensive pressure.
"(Johnson) is a tough kid," Ambrose said. "He's been through a lot in his personal life."
Charlie Moore led Morgan Park (10-2) with 12 points. Josh Cunningham scored 11 and grabbed 13 rebounds. Walker added 10 points and five boards and Kain Harris scored 11.
Cunningham, Morgan Park's best player, picked up his fourth foul with 5:09 to play in the third quarter and headed to the bench until the fourth. The Mustangs were ice cold from beyond the arc, shooting just
"(The referees) are flat out cheating," Irvin said. "It's crazy. It looked like it's personal. I don't like for the kids to be treated like that."
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