Boys Basketball: Morgan Park survives Ridgewood
To the list of gifted and talented young sophomores, the name of Joshua Cunningham belongs front and center.
The 6-6 Morgan Park forward scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds as the visiting Mustangs survived the blistering shooting of Ridgewood star senior guard Anthony Mazurczak for the 51-45 nonconference victory Sunday in Norridge.
Cunningham's three-pointer from the right baseline sparked a game-changing 9-0 fourth quarter run after Ridgewood took its only lead 41-40 on Anthony Mroz's three-pointer with 4:11 remaining.
Cunningham's scoring proved crucial after Ridgewood's box and one defense stymied Mustangs' star guard Billy Garrett Jr, throughout the day.
Garrett Jr. was scoreless from the field in the second half in finishing with a season-low five points.
"The coaches told me I had to step up and look for my shot and be able to knock them down," Cunningham said. "Everybody knows Billy's the star of our team, the reason how we go, and teams now almost constantly use box and one and other defenses to try and stop him.
"That left me open a couple of times and I know I had to make shots," he said.
Eddie Miles, who scored four of his eight points in the fourth quarter, also made a crucial steal and lay up during the Morgan Park flourish. The Mustangs (4-2) also stepped up defensively, shutting the Rebels (5-3) out for three minutes and nine seconds during the outburst.
Xzavier Taylor, a 6-9 junior, started the Morgan Park run with two key free throws off an offensive rebound that restored a Mustang they never relinquished. Terrence Quinn, who also had two free throws, added nine points for the Mustangs.
Mazurczak scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. He also guarded Garrett Jr.
"We knew that Morgan Park is a much better team when the ball's in [Garrett's] hands," he said. "We tried to take the ball away from him. I think you saw that defensively, we played very well today. That's a team that normally scores 80, 90 points a game, and they had what, 22 at halftime.
"We had some jitters, at the start of the game, we probably missed two or three lay ups right at the start, or it could have been a different game," he said, alluding to the Rebels falling behind 14-3 after the first quarter.
Mazurczak scored 11 points in the fourth quarter. Anthony Mroz, the younger brother of Ridgewood coach Chris Mroz, fought off early foul troubles to score all eight of his points in the second half.
Mazurczak and Anthony Mroz were the only Rebels to score in the second half.