- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Morgan Park beat Lincoln 59-49 on Saturday to win the IHSA Class 3A state championship.

Trailing 39-26 in the third quarter, the Mustangs (24-6) went on a 26-2 run that put Morgan Park up 11 with just less than two minutes to go in the game. The Mustangs punished Lincoln for 10 turnovers during that run.

Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said after the game he didn’t want to take a chance with pressure defense too early. “But at halftime, I just said ‘I am going out my way.’ Once we started pressuring, things started to turn around for us.”

Lincoln totally controlled the game until the big run. They handled the pressure for a while but after turning the ball over just four times in the first half, the Mustangs forced 12 turnovers and turned those miscues into 22 points.

“We didn’t adjust the way we needed to,” Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said. “You can’t turn the ball over like we did. It’s just not going to work. We missed a couple of shots and when you do that, you give the other team fuel for their fire.”

Sophomore guard Charlie Moore wasn’t surprised by the deficit or the big comeback for the Mustangs.

“We were confident the whole way,” he said. “Coach said we are going to turn it up on them and when we did, they finally cracked. We took advantage of it once we saw how they played, it was what we thought.”

Josh Cunningham led Morgan Park with 13 points and Moore and Lamont Walker chipped in 12 apiece. Cunningham and Walker also grabbed six rebounds each as the Mustangs commanded the boards over the Railers with a 32-21 advantage.

“We didn’t get many second chances. And we didn’t shoot the ball great in the second half,” senior guard Max Cook said. “Some of that was them, some of it was us. We just didn’t get the job done.”

Junior Gavin Block led the Railers (34-3) with 19 points. Edward Bowlby and Tyler Horchem added eight points each.

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