Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin used one word repeatedly to rally his team against Bogan: location, location, location. The message was received as the Mustangs held high-scoring guard Luwane Pipkins to a season-low 12 points and beat the Bengals 73-66 to win the Class 3A Julian Sectional on Friday.
Bogan led 30-29 at halftime, but Morgan Park’s three-guard attack of Charlie Moore, Marcus LoVett and Jarrin Randall carried the Mustangs (21-6) the rest of the way. Moore led all scorers with 28 points. LoVett, who picked up three fouls in the first half, had 18. Randall chipped in with 13.
LoVett said he got a little frustrated in the first half, but his teammates picked him up, setting up his second-half heroics.
“I didn’t think I was doing my job on the offensive end, but I didn’t let it bother me on defense,” he said. “My teammates kept saying positive things to me, telling me to hang in there and it was going to happen. Then I finally got it going.”
Moore said going up against Pipkins was a battle.
“He is a great player, and it was our job to wear him down and make him work for everything,” Moore said.
Trailing 48-46, the Bengals (25-7) opened the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run to take a 51-48 lead with 7:07 remaining. LoVett then scored seven consecutive points on a pull-up jumper, a driving layup on which he was fouled and a three-point play as the Mustangs reclaimed the lead 55-52.
Morgan Park then took total control with an 11-3 run as Moore sank two three-pointers and a driving layup and threw a no-look pass to Sam Mack Jr., who made a windmill dunk to give the Mustangs their largest lead at 69-57 late in the fourth quarter.
Irvin said there were no big surprises against a conference foe they had played twice this season.
“They know who we are, and we know who they are,” said Irvin. “We respect each other, and both teams are fierce competitors. We had to make sure that our defense knew where Pipkins was at all times. On offense, I will take my chances any day of the week with my guards.”
Despite Pipkins being limited to 12 points, Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said his team had plenty of chances to earn a victory.
“We knew what they were going to try and do, but we were not patient and we strayed away from the game plan,” he said.
Bryce Barnes scored a team-high 20 points. James Jones and Antonio Thomas scored 12 each.