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Marcus “Bright Lights” LoVett had night school on Thursday, so he was the last player to arrive at the gym for the Morgan Park-Bogan showdown.
The transfer from California is putting academics first, making sure everything is in order for college. He missed the Mustangs’ win over Carver on Tuesday because of school.
“I had a little rust to shake off,” LoVett said. “But I got going in the second half.”
LoVett scored just six points in the first half, but put up 20 in the second to lead Morgan Park to a 77-73 win over visiting Bogan.
Bengals guard Luwane Pipkins was spectacular as well. The showdown between the two highly-regarded guards lived up to the hype. Pipkins finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 9-for-16.
LoVett shot 7 for 18. He scored eight in a row for Morgan Park to open the third quarter, turning a 47-48 Bogan lead into a 51-49 Mustangs advantage.
“That was just two great players going at one another,” LoVett said.
LoVett had plenty of help. Morgan Park guard Jarrin Randle drained four 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 20 points. The third member of the Mustangs’ impressive guard trio, Charlie Moore, scored 19.
“Charlie is strong, he’s the best point guard in the class,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “Coming into the season I knew I had two closers.”
The pace of the game was frantic, but the Mustangs turned the ball over just 10 times. Bogan turned it over 18. That helped make up for a massive 41-25 rebounding advantage for the Bengals.
“Jarrin Randle was huge,” LoVett said. “That just kickstarted the game for us, put us up 12-0 and set us on the way.”
The intensity was high throughout, especially after a four-point play by Pipkins midway through the third quarter. It put Bogan ahead 39-32. Pipkins turned Irvin and yelled “you raised me, you raised me.”
Irvin looked angry at first, and then broke out a big smile. Pipkins plays club basketball for the Mac Irvin Fire, the team run by Irvin’s family.
“He’s one of the people that taught me how to play,” Pipkins said. “He’s like family.”
Antonio Thomas, a 6-7 senior, was the only other dependable scoring option for the Bengals (8-1, 2-1 Red South). He finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. James Jones added 10 points for Bogan, but missed eight 3-pointers.
This is just Round 1. Morgan Park (4-2, 2-1) and Bogan will meet again in conference play and then possibly in the city and state tournament.
LoVett’s night school is over, so he will be able to devote his full after-school attention to basketball. Most transfers, even from the Catholic League, can have difficulty adjusting to the style of play in the CPS. That wasn’t the case for LoVett.
“I was ready to go right away,” said LoVett. “(Irvin) had me prepared and a lot of it just came naturally.”