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U-D Jesuit, Douglass fall in semi-finals

Darrell Davis in action during the 2014 MHSAA boys’ basketball semi-finals.  CHUCK JOHNSON, DPS

Darrell Davis in action during the 2014 MHSAA boys’ basketball semi-finals. CHUCK JOHNSON, DPS

Boys’ Basketball State Playoffs

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

The 2013-14 season ended one game early for both the University of Detroit Jesuit and the Frederick Douglass Academy in the MHSAA State Playoffs in Lansing at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center March 21.

The U-D Jesuit Cubs had a poor first period start going against the Bloomfield Hills Blackhawks in a Class A semi-final game. The Cubs only scored nine points in the period to the Blackhawks’ 16. Although they picked up the pace in the second period scoring 18 points, they trailed 42-27 at the half, and the rest of the game with an end score of 85-75.

“We just struggled to shoot the ball,” said U-D Jesuit Head Coach Pat Donnelly. “Bloomfield Hills shot the ball well from the perimeter. I give them a lot of credit.”

Trailing 62-46 after the third period, the Cubs started a big fourth period rally to pull within four points of the Blackhawks, but couldn’t get any closer. Although the Cubs outscored the Blackhawks 29-23 in the fourth period, they couldn’t overcome them.

“It was just one of those days,” Donnelly said. “We only shot 38 percent for the game, but the kids fought hard.”

Senior forward Noah King led the Cubs in scoring with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Billy Thomas had 21 points and five steals, sophomore guard Cassius Winston scored 16 points, seven assists and six steals, while junior guard Gary Collins added 10 points.

“This is the first time our school won our region and made it to the Breslin Center for semi-finals,” Donnelly said. “We’re also back-to-back champions of the Catholic League. We’re getting ready to get back into the gym for next season.

Donnelly says, even with the loss, his team is on the rise. “We had a great season,” Donnelly told the Michigan Citizen. “This team had the best senior class. We’re graduating five seniors, but have a lot of guys coming back. Our program is on the up and up.”

Frederick Douglass (17-10) lost a heartbreaker to eventual champion Milan 51-50 in a Class B semi-final at MSU in a very tight and close contest.

“The boys played hard,” said Douglass Head Coach Nkwane Young. “We just came up short that night and lost the game. I’m proud of my boys because they played hard to the last minute.”

The game was a tight one. Milan led 13-11 after one period, before Douglass outscored the Big Reds 19-17 in the second period to tie the game 30-30 at the half. The Hurricanes’ defense clamped down on the Big Reds holding them to just four points to their own 12.  Douglass led 42-34 after three periods of play.

But Milan turned the tables holding Douglass to eight points in the fourth. The Big Reds poured in 17 points which included the winning free throw with five seconds left.

Senior forward Deshawn Sanders led the Hurricanes in scoring with 15 points. Senior guard Terrell Hales scored 11 points and made five steals while senior center Daavi Bradley added 11 points.

“I told my team after the game this season was an amazing accomplishment,” Young concluded. “We won our district, our region and made the semi-finals. This team was the most successful in the school’s history. I’m very proud of all of them.”

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