Walker, Felder keep Pershing’s hopes high
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Their recent PSL East win moves the Pershing Doughboys closer to the PSA Title. But team leaders Kahlil Felder and Martez Walker have their sights set on bigger and better things: the MHSAA Class A State Championship.
Felder and Walker have experienced the ups and downs as members of the Doughboys’ hoops squad but want to make things happen this year unlike last season where late losses at the PSL Championship, Operation Friendship and the Class A State quarter-finals dashed their hopes.
“I take the blame for that,” Felder said in a post-game interview after Pershing’s win over Southeastern. “I didn’t get the job done.”
Felder says he spent his summer preparing for the 2012-13 season.
“Working out in the weight room, practicing in the gym and running,” he said.
Walker shares his teammate’s blame.
“Last year, we didn’t play to our potential,” Walker said. “We didn’t play to our ability and bad things came out on the floor.”
The Doughboys have hit many clutch baskets down the stretch against some of the best teams in the league and the state like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King High, Southeastern and charter schools like Consortium and Community High. When it looked like an opponent was going to overtake Pershing, the Doughboys would come through with a steal, a big block or several three-pointer or high percentage two-pointers in a row.
Pershing is now 14-0 (7-0 PSL East) and like last season the Doughboys are once again ranked No. 1 in Class A. However, both Felder and Walker are taking a cautious approach as the season winds down.
“Things are going to get tougher,” Felder said. “We approach every game like it’s our last. When we approach them like that, we win. That is a good thing.”
Felder says the approach comes with confidence and believing in themselves.
“As for our play we have to get better on the inside because it can get tough in the middle,” he added.
Walker says the approach is strategic.
“We use the formula ‘Energy, Effort, Poise, Win,’” Walker said. “This helps us focus on the game at hand. This helps us draw on the competition.”
The players say they’re trying to get better every game by playing defense because defense wins games.
“We can’t afford to lose the PSL Championship, Operation Friendship,” Felder concluded.
Pershing head coach Wydell Henry commends his top players for their leadership and their effort.
“Their (Felder and Walker) leadership on the floor is one of our strengths,” Henry said.
Felder and Walker are two of the seven returning players from last season.