Garrett Leads Morgan Park to Tournament Semis

Future DePaul Blue Demon Billy Garrett, Jr. led the Morgan Park Mustangs into the Semifinals of the Proviso West Holiday tournament on Wednesday evening. In this report we talk with Garrett and his coaches and also have video highlights of his performance.

Morgan Park junior point guard Billy Garrett, Jr. scored the game winning bucket with two seconds left in the contest to lead the Mustangs to a 50-49 victory over Hinsdale Central early on Tuesday morning. The DePaul prospect scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds, and had two steals and one assist in the winning effort. He scored all ten of Morgan Park's points in the fourth quarter.

The Mustangs then faced Glenbrook North on Wednesday. Garrett once again led the way for Morgan Park with 16 points, six assists, two steals and one rebound in a 42-28 win.

Morgan Park got the job done with defense. The Mustangs held the Spartans to 24.4% shooting from the floor and a measly 5.3% from beyond the arc.

What was really remarkable was Morgan Park holding Glenbrook North scoreless for the entire second quarter. It was only the third time in the history of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament that a team was held scoreless and the first time a team had done so since 1992.

"We try to make it real uncomfortable," said Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin. "I switch my defense up and try different things. With most people that play against us, we're going to pressure, press the whole game and run and gun. With Glenbrook North, you've got to be disciplined."

Morgan Park (7-2) has done all of this without 6-10 big man Zxavier Taylor in the lineup. Taylor has been sidelined with a knee injury.

The Mustangs are currently ranked 18th in the Chicago Sun-Times Super 25.

This season has been a time of adjustment for Garrett, who now finds himself as the team's primary scorer. Last season Garrett had McDonald's All-American Wayne Blackshear playing alongside him. Blackshear averaged 32.6 points per game for the Mustangs.

"Wayne was the horse last year," said Irvin. "He took every shot."

Garrett continues to learn how to win games as the main man this season.

"I told Bill, it's going to be tough early on, because he played with Wayne for two years and Wayne took all the shots," said Irvin. "Now you've got to utilize your team to help you get better. He's starting to figure it out and now he's doing it."

The Mustangs also lost guard Markee Williams to transfer and sharpshooter Jerome Brown to graduation which leaves Garrett with a whole new cast at Morgan Park.

"I think the adjustment has been a slow and steady one," said Morgan Park assistant coach Walt Woghiren. "Last year he was more of a Robin to Wayne than being a Batman. This year he's got a new group with sophomores and juniors who didn't play much last year. So they're being acclimated on how to play varsity level basketball and how to compete at a high level. So, he's learning how to trust them and realizing that I can still pass the ball and get 20 (points). It's been a process for him. I think he's starting to get the hang of it and it shows in the way that we're starting to beat teams."

"I miss Wayne," Garrett said of his former teammate who is now at Louisville. "I got a lot of open shots because of Wayne. Now I've got the ball a lot more in my hands. So one thing I have to do is make good decisions and be able to create."

Garrett is also facing something he hasn't had to deal with before. Opposing teams are making him the focus of box and one defenses and he's also seeing more double-teams.

"They stress to me that when I get doubled by someone is to be patient," said Garrett. "Earlier I was rushing. I'd get it and try to go real fast, which wasn't the right thing to do. So when I see it, I look and I try to beat it or I find open guys because if they're double-teaming, somebody is open."

Video

Garrett scores the game winning stickback with two seconds remaining against Hinsdale Central in the below video highlight…



Garrett nails a three pointer in the first quarter against Glenbrook North in this video highlight…




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