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Class A boys district at Western International

Pershing’s Martez Walker (5) drives to the basket against Cass Tech. CHUCK JOHNSON, DPS PHOTO

Pershing’s Martez Walker (5) drives to the basket against Cass Tech.

Walker’s jumper at the buzzer lifts Doughboys over Technicians, 78-76

By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — “We’ve been battle-tested tough throughout the season by the opponents we played,” Pershing head coach Wydell Henry said earlier in the season.

Those words were more proven than most March 7 at the William Goldsmith Gymnasium at Western International High School. Trailing by 11 points going into the fourth quarter, Pershing, facing a very good and hard-playing Cass Tech squad, rallied to tie the game at 76 in the closing seconds. After a Doughboys timeout, Pershing’s Martez Walker had the ball with 10.8 seconds left in the contest. Guarded by several Cass Tech players, Walker dribbled along the left side of the court and toward the basket. The senior guard fired a 15-footer from the side and when the ball was in the air the buzzer went off and — swish! Walker’s shot saved the day and the season for the Doughboys as Pershing escaped with a 78-76 victory over a determined Cass Tech squad at the MHSAA Class A District19 Final.

The victory saved Pershing’s unbeaten season and state championship. The Doughboys (24-0) got balanced scoring from Walker (24 points), junior guard Darsean Woodson (18 points), junior forward Justin Tillman (14 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) and senior guard Kahlil Felder (12 points). Cass Tech, who dominated most of the contest, got 23 points from senior guard DeAndre Johnson and 16 points from Kyle Steward. The Technicians ended their season at 17-4. “Cass Tech is a hell of a team,” Henry said. “They have a good coach in David Dixon, who’s a good friend of mine and has done a great job with them.

“I told my kids to keep the game close and keep fighting. We played them tough because our seniors don’t quit. We want something this season and that’s a state championship. I told the team to give the ball to our two seniors (Walker and Felder) and they’ll come through and win it.”

The Technicians used their height, outside shooting and free throws to dominate most of the game. Trailing 21-17 after one quarter, Cass Tech used its height to dominate the inside and its high perimeter shooting to light up the nets to outscore Pershing 23-15 in the second period to take a 40-37 lead at the half.

The third period belonged to Cass Tech as well. The Technicians dominated the Doughboys on the inside. Cass Tech trailed 69-56 early in the fourth period, but the Doughboys turned up the defense to outscore the Technicians 18-2 from the 6:30 mark on to take a 74-71 lead. With the score tied at 76 in the closing seconds, the rest was up to Walker.

“We have no time to celebrate this victory because we have the regional,” Henry concluded.

The Doughboys advanced to the Class A Regional at Southfield High. Results will be in the next issue of the Citizen.

Other district results

  • Class A — Jovanne Hayes scored 11 points while Leonard Harper-Baker added 10 as Southeastern (17-5) won its district crown over St. Clair Shores Lakeview 65-33. Robert Shields scored 10 for Lakeview. … CHSL Champion U of D Jesuit (18-4) ended the season for Renaissance (10-12) as the Cubs defeated the Phoenix 69-56. A.J. Horde scored 17 points and Cassius Winston added 15 points and 12 assists for U of D High. Renaissance got 17 points from Clark Bishop.
  • Class B — Frederick Douglass Academy kept its state championship hopes alive as the Hurricanes (16-6) won its district over Dearborn Henry Ford Academy 57-24. Andre Fredericks led Douglass in scoring with a game-high 14 points and 10 rebounds. Darrell Davis also aided the Hurricanes with 13 points.
  • Class C — Loyola (17-5) kept its season going as the Bulldogs (17-5) downed the Plymouth Educational Center 69-44. Richard Gold led Loyola with 20 points, while Toby Sharp fired in 15 points. The panthers (17-6) got 19 points from Michael Carlson in a losing effort
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