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2008 Proviso West Holiday Basketball Re-Cap

Morton Mustangs carries the mail against the Panthers

Home team, Proviso West (8 – 5), had the crowd behind them, plus the hot shooting of Dontae Moore, who scored 12 points in the first half and teammate Tremel Owens with nine.

It was being reported that people started buying tickets for a primetime high school tournament championship game at 10am. Whew!!!

Moore finished the game with 18 points while Owens finished with 13.  The Panthers had a 13-point lead late in the second quarter, 31 – 18.  But when Owens received his third foul in the third quarter, his aggressiveness slowed.

Plus the Panthers (11 – 1) didn’t have Joe Belcaster and its team play.  His leadership, poise and mental toughness, Morton prevailed in the Proviso West Tournament championship of 2008.  After a slow start, he scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half.  Additionally, the Mustangs had four players in double digit scoring.

But, the icing on the cake came from tournament MVP, 6’ 8” Luke Scarlata, who finished the game with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four block shots.

After the game, coach Tony Martinucci said “our experience was a critical factor.  We never panicked, even when they made runs in the second half against us.”

This would be the Mustangs first Proviso West title since 1962, when the school was known as Morton West, and wasn’t played with questionable calls and drama.

On this evening, the Mustangs showed a standing room only crowd that they do not have a designated superstar, just five guys suited up and ready to play. It’s guys like Guzman, who can laugh about bringing the wrong uniform to a title game; Luke Scarlata, a 6-8 center who was named tournament MVP and has a 4.4 GPA; scrappy point guard Joey Belcaster, son of assistant coach Joe Belcaster, who scored 13 of his 17 points against West in the second half; and Oscar Macias and Roberto Custodio who round out the starting five.

Most Morton players play AAU ball for the Illinois Mustangs. But these players haven’t gotten caught up in the fight for gym shoes or college scholarships, things that playing AAU ball sometimes brings out in players. These kids are more concerned with representing Berwyn and Cicero.

"This shows we’re not like any other punk kids from a bad neighborhood," Guzman said. "We’re trying to get ahead. We’ve wanted to win at Proviso West the

picture courtesy of Proviso West

whole [season], and now state is another possibility."

Proviso West found that hosting a tournament and being in the championship round is a lot of bare.

Final score was Morton 65 – Proviso West 59 at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. Please visit their site at www.pwhoops.com.

In the third-place game, Young’s Franklin Griffin scored on a twisting lay up with 2.5 seconds remaining to power the No. 3 Dolphins over No. 5 Zion-Benton. Chris Colvin scored 19 points for the Dolphins (10-5). Lenzelle Smith scored 24 points for the Zee-Bees (10-3) - Young 56, Zion-Benton 54:

For even more coverage from the tournament, click here.

BIG Dipper Proviso West Hillcrest Holiday Classic
This tournament was held at Rich South high school in Richton Park, IL - December 26 - 30, 2008. Click here to read story.   This is one of the Chicagoland area's premiere girls basketball tournaments.  This tournament was held at Hillcrest high school in Country Club Hills, IL - December 26 - 29, 2008. Click here to read story.
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