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Morgan Park's Billy Garrett Jr. soars to release a shot past Proviso East defenders Paris McCullum (25) and Sterling Brown (21). | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Morgan Park is clearly the best, most talented team in Class 3A. The Mustangs, who lost to Bishop Gorman out of Las Vegas, took apart the field at Proviso West, including an 82-57 romp over talented Proviso East in the title game.
The endless list of guards at coach Nick Irvin’s disposal, including the 1-2 punch of Kyle Davis (Dayton recruit) and Billy Garrett, Jr. (DePaul recruit), generates the buzz. But the emergence and productivity of 6-6 athletic junior Josh Cunningham elevates this team. In the semifinal and title game victories, Cunningham combined for 35 points and 26 rebounds.
When you combine the outstanding guard play, speed, athleticism, depth and the fact it will play in arguably the weakest sectional in the state when March rolls around, Morgan Park may be the best bet to reach Peoria going forward.
You win with guards—at every level, in the biggest games and at the most critical times of the year. The backcourt tandems at Simeon, Morgan Park and Marist draw the headlines. But Providence-St. Mel coach Tim Ervin has a bevy of talented, yet unheralded guards.
Junior Tevin King has been the recognizable name over the past couple of years, but the senior tandem of Khalil Small and Teadric Anderson have been overlooked, while sophomore Ant Mosley, Jr. is another one to watch. Small, King and Mosley combine to average 45 points a game.
St. Mel is 11-3 and owns a win over ranked 3A power North Chicago. This may not be the St. Mel of the glory days in the mid-1980s, but it’s a team capable of making a deep Class 2A run this March.
The most impressive showing by a team that didn’t walk away with a holiday tournament title was Oswego’s third-place finish at Proviso West.
Yes, Proviso East drubbed the Panthers in the semifinals in what was the ultimate payback game — Oswego had beaten Proviso East back in November—but the 4-1 record showed the previous win over the Pirates was no fluke.
Behind the best uncommitted guard in the senior class, Miles Simelton (23 ppg in five tournament games), the Panthers beat Stevenson and crushed both New Trier and H-F.