Thursday, March 12, 2015

Yesterday, in my preview...

...of the St. Ignatius - Morton game, I wrote about the Wolfpack:

They had their scare Friday night when they needed overtime to defeat Kenwood after leading the Broncos by 18 points at the end of the third quarter. Coach Rich Kehoe won't let that happen again.

This morning, Bob Narang began his recap in the Tribune by writing (my emphasis):

Morton senior forward Weisner Perez did the heavy lifting early in the fourth quarter Wednesday against St. Ignatius.

Senior forward Tony Haley provided the thunder.

Perez scored eight of his game-best 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Haley added a thundering two-handed dunk to spark an 18-1 run to close the game, leading Morton to a 58-44 win against No. 17 St. Ignatius in a Class 4A Morton Sectional semifinal in Cicero.

What is it with these guys and giving up 18 points in the fourth quarter? (Morton actually outscored the Wolfpack, 24-9, in the final period.)

Trailing by one after the first quarter, Ignatius was up by six points at halftime and one at the end of three. In fact, Morton didn't take the lead again until about four minutes left in the game.

What happened? Was it coaching? Was it youth? (Morton started five seniors; Ignatius, in contrast, is a young team.) Was it home court advantage? (Morton's fans really showed up; I was impressed.) Or were the Mustangs just the better team last night? I'll let fans who know more about basketball answer those questions.

As for me, I was kicking myself for not allowing more time. When I finally saw the school it was even more impressive than I had imagined. I wish I'd had more time to take pictures. (I will definitely be back, though; besides the school itself, the area immediately surrounding it -- as well as Cermak and Roosevelt Roads -- has a ton of interesting architecture. I have to admit, the home of Al Capone was much nicer than I had expected.)

The only picture I took was that vanilla one at the top of this post. The Ignatius student body has the annoying habit of standing the entire time in the middle section of the bleachers, making it nearly impossible to watch the game sitting down. Why don't they pick one side of the court or the other like everyone else? Oh, well.

My final thought is that Morton, according to the IHSA website, is not only the largest school in the state -- 8327 students! -- but the largest by a lot. (Waukegan is next with 4402; that's only about half as big.) From Wikipedia -- where else? (my emphasis):

Since 1986, Morton West and Morton East have operated a unified athletics program, recognized by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) as Berwyn-Cicero (Morton). From 1958-85, Morton West had its own athletic program.

Time to split them up again?

It was a good game last night and a fitting end to my (abbreviated) high school basketball season. Now bring on spring!

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