After falling behind 17-2 in the first quarter, the Simeon Lady Wolverines overcame a rough shooting day from the field to prevail 45-44 over four-time state champion Morton High School in the Class 3A state championship game on Saturday afternoon, March 7, at Redbird Arena.
The Lady Wolverines not only ended top-ranked Morton’s 47-game winning streak but stopped a six-year run of the team earning four state titles and 201 victories in six seasons.
Morton’s hopes came to an abrupt end after Simeon’s Diamond Stokes made a game winning lay-up with 5 seconds remaining in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Morton’s coach Bob Becker called a timeout and drew up a play called “Duke” with three seconds remaining on the clock. But Morton’s guard Courtney Jones’ 17-foot floater would fall short as time expired.
Becker said that although his team’s loss to Simeon may have hurt them emotionally short-term, he was very proud of how his team played and still loves his girls no matter what. He also said he was very proud of his senior class, who gave an 100 percent effort throughout his four years of coaching them.
The third-ranked Lady Wolverines (34-3) regrouped in the second half, specifically the fourth quarter. Trailing 37-29 just 25 seconds into the final quarter, they began to make their run for their first ever state championship in program history. Guard Nakiyah Callon was the biggest reason for the Lady Wolverines surge. The 5-foot-5 inch junior guard drained three fourth quarter 3-pointers — all from the right wing — to pull Simeon within two at the 5:33 mark, earning the team’s first lead of the game at the 5:08 mark and trimming the lead within one at the 2:28 mark.
Simeon’s star forward Aneesah Morrow finished with a playoff low 8 points during the contest, but her lay-up in the final 90 seconds of the game put the Lady Wolverines up briefly and eventually changed the momentum and the outcome of the game.
Final Score: Simeon 45, Morton 44.
Chicago Crusader Players of The Game:
Congrats to the Simeon Lady Wolverines for winning their first ever state title in school history.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.