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'Battle Of Vincennes' Moved Back To Morgan Park's Gym, Officials Say

By Evan F. Moore | December 14, 2016 7:39pm | Updated on December 15, 2016 11:45am
 The latest move of the game adds yet another layer to the rivalry.
The latest move of the game adds yet another layer to the rivalry.
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DNAinfo/Evan F. Moore

MORGAN PARK — The "Battle of Vincennes," which was scheduled to take place at a suburban community college next week, is moving back to Morgan Park's gym and will now be played Thursday night.

The hotly-contested game between the Morgan Park and Simeon boys basketball teams was scheduled to take place at Moraine Valley Community College in suburban Palos Hills on Dec. 23, but Chicago Public Schools officials intervened, moving the game back to Morgan Park's home gym for Thursday, according to Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin.

"I really don't know what happened. CPS moved the game back," Irvin said. 

Thursday's game, which is scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m., is already sold out, school officials said.

A source, who did not want to be named, told DNAinfo that CPS wanted to provide its own security guards at the game, but Moraine Valley balked since the school has its own police department, which would have provided security for the game.

Earlier this year, Morgan Park basketball parents threatened not to let their sons play in a game scheduled for Jan. 16 after Chicago Public Schools officials moved the game to a neutral site in order to accommodate more spectators. CPS relented and postponed the game, eventually agreeing to move it back to Morgan Park.

Jamarra Dosunmu's son Ayo, plays for Morgan Park. She told DNAinfo she preferred the game be played at Morgan Park's home gym. 

"The boys are happy so us parents are happy. No matter the conditions of the facility every team deserves 'home court advantage' it's only fair," Dosunmu said.

Tiffany Burrell, whose son Melo is also a member of Morgan Park's team, was the spokeswoman for the parents during the gym controversy earlier this year. She said the latest chapter in the rivalry puts them back at square one in terms of their fight for a new gym. 

"At the end of the day, we are back in the same predicament that our local politicians and CPS has allocated resources elsewhere," Burrell said. "The conversation around a new gym has dried up. However, we still want a new gym."

Burrell continues to believe that the Chicago Public Schools has ignored schools like Morgan Park. Walter Payton College Prep opened up a new gym earlier this school year even though the school has been around for only 16 years. Payton received $20 million in tax-increment financing funds last year to build a new gymnasium, "black box" theater, a cafe and 16 classrooms

"It's when no one is truly listening as far the politicians are concerned. We need someone to stand up for us," Burrell said.

Officials from Chicago Public Schools and Moraine Valley were unavailable for comment.

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