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Morgan Park coach Thomas Johnson draws up a play during overtime of the Mustangs' 68-66 loss to Bishop McNamara at Thursday's Peotone Sectional final.. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
In sophomore Khadaizha Sanders, Bishop McNamara has always had a star this season.
But with each passing a month, the Fighting Irish have developed around her and certainly picked quite a time to get hot.
Having already upset No. 10 Joliet Catholic Tuesday in the semifinals, Bishop McNamara continued its impressive run Thursday, pulling off another upset in a 68-66 overtime thriller over No. 11 Morgan Park at the 3A Peotone Sectional.
“It’s the stepping stones we’ve took from the summer working hard to the individual things we could work on at a personal level,” McNamara’s Corinne O’Connor said. “We’re more together and a much stronger team this year.”
O’Connor led Bishop McNamara (18-11) with 20 points while Kyleigh Payne (18 points) and Sanders (15 points) also contributed.
Erupting for 39 points against Joliet Catholic, the high-scoring Sanders was kept in relative check but still made her presence felt on the court. Morgan Park’s Kierra Graves tied the game with 55 seconds left in overtime at 66-66 on a hard drive to the basket.
The Fighting Irish proceeded to kill the clock against the Morgan Park defense until near the 15-second mark, Sanders drove hard across the lane. Drawing the defense, Sanders passed under the basket to a waiting O’Connor who put it in cleanly for the game-winner.
“Khadaizha can get to the basket whenever, but she’s good at distributing,” O’Connor said. “If the defense comes to get her, she knows me or Kyleigh are there for the ball. We just have to finish.”
After a Morgan Park timeout with 10 seconds remaining, the Mustangs were unable to get a shot off against an aggressive defense.
Morgan Park (23-6) finished with 36 turnovers, 22 in the second half.
“They wanted it a little more,” Morgan Park coach Thomas Johnson said. “Turnovers tore our butts up, especially 22 in the second half. You won’t win against a fifth and sixth grade team with that.”