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From the second they take the court, Morgan Park’s Kierra Graves and Bhrea Griffin typically have one speed.
Offense, defense, the Mustangs backcourt comes at opponents going 100 miles per hour.
“It’s what we do (energy-wise),” Graves said. “We like to come out strong. We’re a fast team, and practice or game, we’re going to run.”
With the senior guard tandem leading the way in an impressive second half effort, Morgan Park defeated Rich South 58-48 Tuesday in a Class 3A Peotone Sectional semifinal.
The Mustangs will play Bishop McNamara, 72-63 upset winners over Joliet Catholic, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for the regional title.
Graves finished with 21 points, 15 in the second half, while Griffin added 14 points, 12 in the second half, to lead Morgan Park (23-5) with Shami Goodman (11 points) contributing.
“We like to keep it up-tempo, and Kierra and I talk about it all the time,” Griffin said. “Keep the game fast, and make good teams play fast, stay in control.”
With Morgan Park holding a four-point lead at halftime, the senior trio of Graves, Griffin and Goodman lit the scoreboard up in the second half. Graves especially took control, scoring three baskets in both the third and fourth to help the Mustangs pull away.
The senior’s aggressive play resulted in all six of her second-half buckets coming via fast break layups, one an acrobatic spinning floater.
“We’re a second half team,” Graves said. “The coaches get after us, and we’re able to pick it up in the second half.”
Rich South cut the deficit to 10 points three different times in the fourth, but Griffin answered with a score inside and a 5-of-6 showing at the free throw line.
Tierra Webb (19 points) and DeAsia Garrett (11 points) led Rich South (22-6). The Stars shot just 18-of-56 from the field, struggling to convert in the lane.
“It was the mistakes we made when we had opportunities to get close,” South coach Brian Mays said. “We’d throw the ball away or miss putbacks. Proud of the girls, just wish it would have been a different result.”