Morgan Park (Ill.) High star Wayne Blackshear was the biggest name on the court, but the Louisville signee didn't get his team a win, nor was he responsible for the game's most explosive play, as is his trademark. Rather, that claim could be made by Brooks (Ill.) High forward Keith Gray, whose powerful slam in the fourth quarter put a punctuation mark on the Eagles' 60-46 Rich South Sectional title-game victory on Friday.
As you can see above, Gray not only demoralized Morgan Park's defenders, he had a profound effect on the rim, leaving it bent and forcing referees to adjust it during a subsequent officials timeout. If you freeze the video at the 0:08 mark, you can actually see the rim bent forward a slight but noticeable amount.
While it's always impressive for a dunk to be so forceful that it bends a rim, the feat is made even more stunning by the fact that Gray wasn't even supposed to play in the game because of a knee injury. According to Chicago prep hoops insider and friend of the blog Scott Comeau -- who is also responsible for the video above -- Brooks was expected to miss Friday's sectional championship while recovering from a hyperextended knee, but woke that morning feeling well enough to play.
"We want to win city and state," Gray, told the Chicago Tribune and Comeau after his team's victory. "I told my dad this morning I felt good, and he called [Brooks coach Bobby Locke] to let him know."
Locke was happy he did, with Gray finishing with 12 points -- all scored in the second half -- and pulling down seven rebounds, numbers which partnered with his twin brother Kevin Gray's 10 points and 13 rebounds to give Brooks a significant edge inside. The Eagles finished with a 38-27 rebounding advantage on the Mustangs.
All of that helped pave the way to a key victory for Brooks, which set up a Supersectional game against Lindblom (Ill.) High, another matchup which the Eagles took in dominant fashion, 61-42, to book a place in the Illinois state semifinals.
Years from now, the final scores from those two victories may be forgotten, but few will overlook what the rim looked like when Gray was done with it in the fourth quarter against Morgan Park.
- Morgan Park