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Simeon beats Kenwood, wins girls city title

Simeon’s Aneesah Morrow believes Chicago is big enough to have more than two girls basketball powerhouses.

Simeon’s Aneesah Morrow (24) holds the trophy and stands with her team, coach Johnny Davenport and Mayor Lori Lightfoot after winning the city championship against Kenwood.
Simeon’s Aneesah Morrow (24) holds the trophy and stands with her team, coach Johnny Davenport and Mayor Lori Lightfoot after winning the city championship against Kenwood.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Simeon’s Aneesah Morrow believes Chicago is big enough to have more than two girls basketball powerhouses.

Marshall and Young are synonymous with the sport in the city, but the Morrow and the Wolverines are ready to join the conversation.

“We want to add our name to that list,” Morrow said. “Simeon has never won a state title before, so that is our goal: to win city and state.”

The Wolverines are halfway there after rallying from 13 points down in the first half Sunday to beat Kenwood 69-63 in the Public League title game at Jones Armory.

Morrow, a junior forward averaging 24.5 points a game, missed her first four shots before finding a groove. She finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Khaniah Gardner, another junior forward, also had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Diamond Stokes (15) and Cashay Dixon (12) also scored in double figures.

Simeon (28-2) has been slowly building its reputation, earning its first state trophy (fourth in Class 3A) in 2017 and winning its first city title two years ago.

But this may be the team that cements the Wolverines as a power in the city and beyond. They are just a pair of narrow losses to Homewood-Flossmoor and Benet away from being unbeaten, and give every opponent matchup problems with three starters 6-1 or taller: Morrow, Gardner and Stokes.

“That is our strength,” coach Johnny Davenport said, “Teams have a hard time rebounding against us.”

Kenwood (24-6), which lost the teams’ first meeting 61-52 last month, rode some hot shooting to a 26-13 lead early in the second quarter.

The Broncos’ blitz, plus the bells and whistles of the game’s shoe company production, may have thrown the Wolverines off their rhythm early.

“The Kenwood crowd was crazy, our crowd was crazy,” Gardner said, “All the intensity was a lot [to deal with].”

“We had to get our nerves out,” Morrow said. “Once the first quarter was over, we were rolling.”

”The game started off slow, real slow,” Davenport said. “Second half, they got relaxed and started playing the way we’ve been playing all year.”

Even down double digits early, the Wolverines didn’t lose their cool.

“We don’t really get a panicked feeling,” Gardner said. “We hype each other up.”

Once Morrow got rolling, so was Simeon. She hit eight straight shots at one point, including a put-back late in the second quarter that put Simeon ahead to stay at 35-33.

“I started off very slow,” Morrow said. “Everybody was like, ‘What’s going on, what’s going on?’

“I guess it was nerves the first quarter. But I was in my zone after that.”

Kenwood was led by a pair of sophomores: Brianna McDaniel with 22 points and Whitney Dunn with 20.