Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas has a plea for the basketball gods.
“I’m just hoping we catch a break here,” Kalivas said.
Fate doesn’t seem to be smiling on Kalivas’ 10th-ranked Mustangs these days. Senior guard Bria Walker went down with what could be a serious knee injury in the third quarter of Saturday’s 64-50 loss to Morgan Park at the 23rd annual McDonald’s Shootout in Villa Park.
Walker, who just last week scored her 1,000th varsity point, hurt her right knee planting on a jump-stop near the basket in the opening seconds of the third quarter.
Walker had to be carried off the court and didn’t return, her knee iced on the bench.
Just three weeks ago, Metea Valley (18-5) lost another of its three third-year starters, senior Anna Petersen, to a torn ACL. Kalivas hopes Walker can get in for an MRI on Monday, and she hopes for the best. Walker tore the ACL in her left knee as a freshman at Naperville North.
“Possibly, it’s just a hamstring, possibly an ACL,” Kalivas said. “She jump-stopped and that’s what scares me, is the way she jump-stopped. That’s where you see ACLs happen a lot. She had one before on the opposite knee and she said it felt the same.”
Metea, making its first shootout appearance, got off to an inauspicious start against Chicago Public League power Morgan Park (15-2).
Morgan Park scored the game’s first 8 points and led 17-4 after a basket by Khalilah Morrow five minutes in. Metea settled down some from there, pulling within 17-9 on a Nia Flowers 3-pointer to close the quarter and trailed 31-21 at the half. Metea got within 31-25 on a follow basket by Lori Obendorf moments after Walker’s injury but never drew closer. Every time Metea appeared to inch closer, Morgan Park had the answer.
In a frantic, physical pace, Metea made just 25 percent of its shots, several misses near the basket, and committed 20 turnovers. Fatigue probably played a part; Metea wasn’t a particularly deep team before Petersen and Walker were hurt.
“We started off a little scared, we overcame that and eventually got it to 6, but throughout the game we just struggled to finish,” Kalivas said. “At the pace the game was played at, and we don’t have much of a bench, kids got a little tired and we struggled to finish. We took some contact and struggled to finish. We got some steals, and then we’d turn the ball back over. The refs let us play, which is fine, we took some contact and struggled to finish there.”
Kiara Carter had 15 points and 9 rebounds and Taylore Cephas 13 points for Morgan Park, whose only in-state loss this season came to Springfield and earlier in the year defeated Bolingbrook. Morgan Park played without starters Shami Goodman and Tristan Anderson. Morgan Park only started one girl taller than 5-foot-8, but attacked the basket and the offensive boards without abandon.
“We knew Metea is a very good team, and we knew we had to be patient,” Morgan Park coach TJ Johnson said. “Everybody that we play is bigger than we are so we have to sort of size them up. The other girls that we had in there did a good job.”
Obendorf had 21 points and 15 rebounds for Metea, playing all but 16 seconds of the game. Flowers added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and Jenny Voytell 7 points.
“The kids played hard from start to finish — we just ran out of gas,” Kalivas said. “There were a few things we needed to clean up.”
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