Cam Irvin’s second half heroics lead Morgan Park past Simeon

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Simeon’s Talen Horton-Tucker gets wrapped up by Morgan Park’s Cam Burrell (3) and Ayo Dosunmu (11) Worsom Robinson/ For Sun-Times.

Morgan Park senior Cam Irvin probably has the most famous last name in Chicago high school basketball.

The Irvin family has produced several star players as well as the city’s legendary club basketball coach, Mac Irvin Sr.

Now Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin has become one of the most successful high school coaches in the state. So every time Cam Irvin touches a basketball, there is a significant weight of expectation on him.

“He’s got my blood,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “He knew what it was from day one when he came out of his momma. We are always ready for Simeon. He’s been waiting for this day and it is his time to shine.”

Irvin delivered on Tuesday, draining four three-pointers in the second half to lead No. 5 Morgan Park to a 57-54 win against No. 2 Simeon.

The win gives Nick Irvin his first Red-South conference title. A week ago Simeon was the undefeated, top-ranked team. Now the Wolverines are on a two-game losing streak and morale appears to be low.

“This team is just not very smart and I keep saying it,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “They are talented but they are not very smart. You leave the best shooter in the building to shoot wide-open three-pointers.”

Irvin led Morgan Park (14-3, Red-South 8-1) with 14 points. Junior point guard Ayo Dosunmu scored 12 and ran the show. Lenell Henry scored four and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Mustangs were irate about a comment Simeon guard Evan Gilyard made after the Wolverines won the first Battle of Vincennes earlier this year at Morgan Park.

“We should have beaten them by ten or 15 points, that team is not that good,” Gilyard said after the first game.

“I put that in my head to motivate me to play hard,” Morgan Park freshman Nimari Burnett said.

The Mustangs were physical from the tip. Three different Morgan Park players shoved Simeon players off them in the first quarter.

“That’s the plan,” Nick Irvin said. “We are physical from here on out. Simeon punked us last game. I [told the team] we aren’t going to be punked by them, we punk them. And we did that.”

Gilyard hurt his ankle at the end of the first half but came back in to play in the fourth quarter. Talen Horton-Tucker led Simeon (18-2, 7-2) with 13 points and Kezo Brown scored 12. Morgan Park out-rebounded the Wolverines 34-25.

“We told them if they beat us on the boards we would lose and they beat us on the boards,” Smith said. “We didn’t have any effort. You cant just come out there with a Simeon jersey and think you are going to win. It doesn’t work like that.”

The atmosphere was electric throughout the game. The fourth quarter was especially intense and Morgan Park had two freshmen, Burnett and Marcus Watson Jr., on the court.

“They have to know what the Battle of Vincennes is about and I just wanted to let them know that I believe in them,” Nick Irvin said.

Burnett hit a crucial three-pointer in the fourth quarter and Watson scored six points.

“It’s crazy that [Irvin] has never won conference, even with all the great guards he’s had,” Dosunmu said. “I told him I was going to be the one to get him a conference title.”

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