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Morgan Park's Billy Garrett Jr. looks to the hoop with Curie's Demarcus Richardson defending. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
They say turnabout is fair play as Curie found out after being knocked out of the Public League quarterfinals by Morgan Park on Sunday. The Mustangs avenged last year’s lost in the same game with a hard fought 60-58 victory at Chicago State.
The Mustangs (25-2) trailed going into the fourth quarter 40-38, but used an 11-2 run to grab their largest lead at 49-42.
A pivotal play in the fourth quarter came with 2:16 remaining and the Curie bench being assessed a technical foul for disputing a call on what it thought was a backcourt violation giving the Mustangs two free throws and the ball to eat up valuable clock.
The Condors clawed their way back into the game but Josh Cunningham’s offensive rebound off a missed free throw by Kyle Davis got the junior to the free-throw line where he mad 1 of 2 to put the Mustangs up 59-57 with 18 seconds remaining. Cunningham then sealed the win with a rebound off a missed shot by the Condors and another free throw to give Morgan Park a 60-57 lead with 4.4 seconds left in the game.
Curie had one last chance to send the game to overtime after Demarcus Richardson made the first of two free-throw attempts, but the Condors drew a violation when Richardson intentionally missed the second attempt but fail to draw iron.
Billy Garrett Jr. led the Mustangs with 15 points, seven assists, and six steals. Kyle Davis added 14 and Lamont Walker had 13.
Irvin singled out the play of 6-5 junior Walker who battled as being a key to the victory. “Cliff [Alexander] is so talented. I just give so much credit to Lamont for staying in there and battling,” said Irvin. “You are not going to stop Cliff, but he fought him all the way.’
Alexander finished with 11 points, ten rebounds and seven blocks to lead Curie (17-7).
“There is no one person that can stop Cliff,” Walker said. “I just want to do my part and make him work for everything he got.”
Curie coach Mike Oliver said it was mental toughness that caused his team the game. “Morgan Park is a great team, but so are we,” said Oliver. “In the end it was what we didn’t do in crucial situations that costed us the game. In a game like this, you get no plays off and we had several mental lapses that costed us.”
Joseph Stamps led all scorers with 21 points. Marcellus Davis finished with 12.