In the featured game, the South/Central All-Stars defeated the North/West All-Stars 53-46 to win the Luther Bedford All-Star Classic on Saturday at Young.
But the real story was who showed up to play in the game.
For years, the Chicago Public League Coaches Association has been asking for some of their high profile stars to participate but for the most part it has fallen on deaf ears. That scenario may be changing thanks to two players. Simeon All-State forward Ed Morrow played for the South/Central team and Young All-State forward Joseph Toye joined the North/West team.
Their presence added much-needed luster to the game. Morrow scored six points on three rim-rattling dunks, grabbed seven rebounds and played with his normal ferocious intensity. Not to be outdone, Toye led all scorers with 17 points on an array of jumpers, dunks and drives to the basket. They were also joined by several All-Public League players: Josh Adams (Farragut), Keeshawn Palmer (Vocational), Kenneth Perkins (North Lawndale), and Antoine Pike (Hyde Park).
Pike paced the South/Central squad with 12 points and little-known Perspectives Calumet guard Darin Whiteside opened some eyes adding 12 points. Whiteside said that Morrow and Toye’s presence made a big difference.
“They made everybody’s game step up,” he said. “Nobody wanted to be embarrassed or feel like they didn’t belong on the floor. It was a great experience for me and it let me know what I need to do to get to the next level.”
Nebraska-bound Morrow and Virginia Tech-bound Toye both said they were glad they played.
“The game was on my home court,” Toye said. “It was a great way to end my high school career and say goodbye to all the people who supported me.”
Morrow said, “The Chicago Public League has done so much for all of us. Making us better people, players and preparing us for what lies ahead. It was my way of saying thank you.”
Michael Lang, who coached the South/Central team, took it one step further. “We started practice on Monday and Monday night I got a call from Morrow to ask if he could play,” Lang said. “My first reaction is ‘You have to be kidding.’ I asked him why he wanted to play since he was already set for school. He just said it was something that he wanted to do. He came to practice the next day and showed why he is the player that he is and we are grateful that he chose to play.”
In the first game, the South/Central used an 11-2 spurt in the final two minutes to defeat the North/West team 58-49. Jacobi Baker of Vocational, who had several junior colleges coming in to watch him play, did not disappoint as he scored a game-high 13 points with six assists and four steals. King guard Jesse Young also had a huddle of coaches around him after the game, all impressed with the 6-3 guard’s overall play. Young was the only other player with double figures with 10 points, along with four assists and five rebounds.
Ramon Monroe led the North/West All-Stars with a team high of 11 points in defeat.