A buzzer-beating three-pointer in the Public League quarterfinals is a big moment for most schools.
Young senior Jake Kosakowski definitely celebrated after his heroic shot beat visiting Morgan Park 69-66 on Tuesday. But the No. 4 Dolphins are the defending Class 4A state champions. This victory was expected.
Kosakowski said it was the biggest shot of his career ‘‘so far.’’ And Young coach Tyrone Slaughter described it this way: ‘‘The senior made a three, like he was supposed to do.’’
Xavier Castaneda, the Dolphins’ rock-solid senior point guard, made the key play. He recognized Javon Freeman, the first option on the play, was guarded and calmly passed the ball to Kosakowski in the corner.
‘‘It was a team effort,’’ Slaughter said. ‘‘Our seniors have never lost to Morgan Park. Some time ago, [Mustangs coach Nick] Irvin talked about how he owned us. He hasn’t beaten us since that game six or seven years ago. It’s always fun to play Morgan Park.’’
Freeman led Young (22-6) with 19 points and nine rebounds. Castaneda added 15 points and Kosakowski nine.
Sophomore Tyler Beard, who was cleared to play this month, was sensational for the Dolphins. He scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and converted a breathtaking drive to the basket with 2:41 left that put Young ahead 66-64.
‘‘[Beard] brings an incredible level of energy and athleticism and a real feel for the game,’’ Slaughter said. ‘‘By the time it all shakes out, he’s going to be in the conversation for the top player in that class.”
Senior guard Ayo Dosunmu had a chance to give No. 5 Morgan Park the lead with 20 seconds left, but his driving layup rimmed out.
‘‘Ayo is the best player in the state, hands down,’’ Irvin said. ‘‘He’s been battling injuries, but he has to close. He’s the guy, and he has to close. We got the ball in the right hands, and he has to close.’’
Morgan Park and Young tied at 66. Watch the final minute live https://t.co/Tqtk28M2oz
— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) February 14, 2018
Dosunmu scored 22 points. He picked up his fourth foul with a minute left in the third quarter and went to the bench. He didn’t return until halfway through the fourth quarter.
‘‘That definitely did a lot for us,’’ Kosakowski said. ‘‘Taking out their best player gave us a chance to get in the groove and get a lead.’’
Senior Cam Burrell added 18 points and seven rebounds and sophomore Adam Miller 14 points for the Mustangs (18-9).
Morgan Park jumped out to a 20-9 lead in the first quarter but led by only one at halftime.
‘‘We knew they would have a bit of an edge after losing to us last year at Proviso West,’’ Slaughter said. ‘‘As we didn’t get down by more than 12, we were good. We’ve been resilient all year.’’Tags: Morgan Park, Young