PEORIA—Morgan Park lost its leader, junior point guard Ayo Dosunmu, just four minutes into the Class 3A State Semifinal game against Springfield Lanphier on Friday at Carver Arena.
Dosunmu, the leading scorer and primary ball handler for the Mustangs, injured his right foot. At that point all eyes turned to freshman Marcus Watson, who only played two varsity games this season.
Dosunmu and Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin both had total faith in the unproven guard.
“He is like my little brother,” Dosunmu said. “I tell him all the time you never know when your number is going to be called. He is big-time.”
Watson had some shaky moments early, but settled down and helped guide the Mustangs to a 60-53 victory against the Lions.
“[Watson] was waiting for this moment,” Irvin said. “When Ayo went down he knew it was his time. We needed him. That was a gutsy effort.”
Watson finished with nine points, six assists, four steals and four rebounds. Center Lenell Henry led the Mustangs (25-6) with 12 points and nine rebounds. It may be the first time an Irvin coached team has been led in scoring by a big man.
“[Dosunumu] told me what I had to do, said go get the win for him,” Henry said. “I know he works hard. He got us here with the work he put in, so I had to go get it for him.”
Sophomore guard Lamond Johnson scored 10 and freshman Nimari Burnett added nine points.
“Our leader went down and these guys could have quit, they could have surrendered,” Irvin said. “We are more than just one player, we are a team. We showed that today.”
Andrea Williams opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to cut Morgan Park’s lead to 43-41. The Mustangs responded immediately with back-to-back three-pointers from senior Cam Irvin and Burnett.
“They love the moment,” Irvin said. “Both of them love taking big shots. They were probably arguing over who would shoot.”
Cardell McGee led the Lions (28-4) with 12 points and five rebounds and Williams scored 10. Lanphier took an astounding number of shots and finished 23-for-76 from the field.
Dosunmu went for x-rays after the game. It appears likely he will miss the Class 3A state title game on Saturday. Morgan Park will play Fenwick at 12:45.
“I don’t have to talk to them,” Irvin said. “They love to be at this point. Once the ball goes up tomorrow I just have to run up and down and do my antics.”Tags: lanphier, Morgan Park