By Pat Brozynski

Young, Morgan Park look back, forward

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Last Saturday's Windy City championship game between No. 1 Young and sometimes-ranked Morgan Park probably surprised a lot of people.

But not Young's Alexis Lloyd.

"We knew what we were looking at," she said. "They played great. Maybe if we could have limited our turnovers and made more shots and not having missed layups, we probably could have been further ahead. But it was a great game. It's always great playing against them."

There are also a lot of emotions anytime Young and Morgan Park meet.

"A lot of emotions go on anytime we play each other," Young coach Corry Irvin said. "It's always going to be a close game. It was good for us to play a good game so we can see what we can work on in practice this week.

"I think if it wouldn't have been a close game, we really wouldn't know what to work on," the coach added. "So it was good for us. We played a lot of games during this tournament. It will be good to get back in the gym and practice."

Morgan Park might want to practice free throws ahead of next week's Class 3A tournament. The Mustangs finished 9 of 17 from the foul line Saturday compared to 22 of 28 for the Dolphins. The Mustangs were just 3 of 10 in the first half, while Young connected on 8 of its 10 attempts.

"We practice free throws every day, that's one of our main focuses in practice is free throws," Young's Janee Thompson said. "We knew they were going to come out tough and rough, so we knew that once we got into the bonus we were going to have to make free throws.

"It was easy with the amount of free throws we shoot every day in practice," she added. "It was a big game. They played hard, we played hard. I think the better team came out today."

But the future looks awfully bright at Morgan Park. The Mustangs started two freshmen and a sophomore, and the school's sophomore team was the No. 1 seed heading into the city's sophomore tournament.

A player to watch for the next two years is 5-7 sophomore Shami Goodman, who scored 19 points to lead the Mustangs Saturday.

"I knew I had to step up when Gabrielle (Richmond) went down with an injury," said Goodman, who likes the Mustangs' chance in next week's Class 3A tournament. "I think we're going to go real far this year."

If not this year, certainly next.

"I knew a lot of people gave up on us early because we lost our inside presence," Morgan Park coach TJ Johnson said. "But our two freshmen - Tammy Russell and Marsha Howard - did a great job, and Shami's only a sophomore.

"I think we're going to be better next year than we are this year," he added. "But right now, we're looking forward to state. We have a very good chance. We're in a great sectional. I'm looking forward to that. We ain't through yet."

Neither is Young.

"Now we have to get ready for state," Lloyd said. "We know nothing is going to come easy. We have to prepare for whatever happens next."


At last report, Montini is still looking for one girls basketball team to add to the field of its 2012 Christmas tournament. Teams looking for a Christmas tournament next year should contact Jason Nichols at (630) 627-6930 or


The Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association will hold its Winter Coaches Clinic on Saturday, February 25. The clinic will be held at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove.

Speakers include: Bill Gleason of St Ambrose, 2011 NAIA Men's Finalist, Blocking-"Building a Wall;" and Pete Hanson of Ohio State, 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Champions, "Championship Drills From A Championship Coach."

Also, Pete Waite of the University of Wisconsin, "Get Into the Swing of Things;"
and Kevin Hambly, University of Illinois Women's Coach, 2011 NCAA Finalist and 2011 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year, "Charting for Champions."

Register at

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on February 7, 2012 10:19 PM.

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