Lady Crusaders turn back aggressive Lady Technicians to repeat as PSL Champs
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — The Martin Luther King Girls’ Basketball squad returned to the University of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall to repeat as Detroit PSL Champions, but it wasn’t an easy task. The Lady Crusaders (17-0), who’ve clobbered many of their opponents throughout the season and in the playoffs, ran into one of their biggest challenges Feb. 15. Cass Tech (16-1) gave King all it could handle, but fell short, 45-38, at the PSL Championship game at UDM. It was the 21st PSL Title for King.
“We made the game that way,” said King head coach William Winfield. “We didn’t play that well tonight. We have to go back into the gym to get ready for the state tournament.
“We weren’t that good tonight but the bright spot was (senior guard) LaQuita Hart. We’ll see this team again in the (state) districts.”
Hart led all scorers with a game-high 17 points. Other top scorers for King were junior center Marte Grays and senior guard/forward Antania Hayes, who added 11 points each. Although Cass Tech had no scores in double figures, they got a strong game from senior guard Kashawna Sampson and sophomore K’lynn Willis (nine points apiece). Senior forward Destinee Russell only scored six points but set the tempo for the Lady Technicians on offense and defense.
Cass Tech played tight defense and forced turnovers in the first quarter. The period ended on a basket by Russell off a steal. The Lady Technicians led 8-2 after one period.
But King turned the tables in the second quarter, holding Cass Tech to just two points. After junior guard Lauren Elliot started the second period on a basket to extend the Lady Technicians’ lead to 10-2, the Lady Crusaders clamped down on defense and cranked up the offense by going on a 13-0 run to end the first half with a 15-10 halftime lead.
The third period belonged to King and the strong play from Grays, who hit several layups off transitional plays. The Lady Crusaders fired in 17 points and held the Lady Technicians to nine points to lead 32-19 after three periods of play.
But what looked like a King runaway turned into an apparent Cass Tech comeback. The Lady Technicians went on a 9-2 run to pull within four points with 3:50 to play. After a King timeout, the Lady Crusaders fired in three straight baskets to go up 38-30. The Lady Technicians pulled within six (40-34) with 52.2 seconds left, but could get any closer.