Detroit King guard Alicia Norman steals the ball from Detroit Cass Tech's K'Lynn Willis during the PSL title game Friday. King won 51-41. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)
Detroit — Detroit Martin Luther King is used to big wins.
Averaging 66 points a per game, this team knows how to put up big numbers, but Friday night was a little different.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, but King (18-1) managed to find a way to beat Detroit Cass Tech, 51-41, in the Detroit Public Schools girls basketball championship at Calihan Hall.
LaShai Geeter was the top scorer for King with 14 points while Janae Williams and Marte’ Grays each had 11. Lauren Elliot led Cass Tech (14-4) with 13.
“We were out of whack a little bit because we haven’t played in quite a while,” King coach William Winfield said. “I figured we’d be a little rusty.
“We could have easily lost this game, but we played just well enough to win.”
Cass Tech was nearly held scoreless in the first quarter until a last-second shot found the basket. At that point, the score was 10-2 and it looked like King might run away with the game.
Early in the second quarter, Cass Tech started to find its rhythm, bringing the score within four and showing a little life on offense, but it would never get that close again.
“We couldn’t get any offense going,” Cass Tech coach Marissa Thrower said. “We have to go back to the drawing board on that one.”
At the half, King led 22-13, keeping Cass Tech at bay by dominating the boards.
“We were getting beat on the weak side in terms of rebounding,” Thrower said. “They were really putting the pressure on us.”
Heading into the locker room, King was also feeling the pressure, as Williams, who had nine points in the first half, went down with an ankle injury just as the buzzer sounded.
“They wrapped me up and I told them I was ready to go,” Williams said. “It wasn’t as bad as we thought at first and I wanted to get back out there.”
Cass Tech scored a quick five points at the start of the second half to bring the lead within six, but shortly after, King went on a 9-0 run.
“We made a run, they made a run, and then we made a run,” Winfield said. “They just started to run out of gas. That’s how we stayed in the game toward the end.”
With 5:11 left in the game, King went up 15, its biggest lead of the night.
“We worked as a team and played together,” Williams said. “We just had to work harder to get it all together.”
District playoffs begin Monday, and if King defeats Detroit Cody in the first round, King and Cass Tech will meet again for the third time this season.
“We could play them again on Wednesday, so we have to come up with something between now and then to try to get past them,” Cass Tech’s Thrower said. “It’s do or die at this point. We have to figure something out.”
As for King, Williams says the team just has to stay focused on its own play and not worry about what other teams might bring to the table.
“We’re going to look to play together as a team,” Williams said. “We’re not really going to worry about what they do, we just need to worry about us and what we do at practice.”
“We have to do what we’ve been doing,” Winfield said. “We need to rebound the basketball, get down the floor and defend, and if we can do that, we’ll be alright.”
More girls basketball
Bloomfield Hills Roeper 48, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist 38: Nadia Salman had 16 points for Roeper. Alyssa Saenz scored six for Inter-City (10-10).
Farmington Hills Mercy 62, Goodrich 59: Sam Bauer had 16 points, Candice Leatherwood 14, Sierra LaGrande 11 and Taylor Jones 10 for Mercy (19-1). Tania Davis scored 29 and Bella O’Brien 19 for Goodrich (18-2).
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 66, Novi Franklin Road 50: Jessica Rotzoll had 22 points and Nia Ahart 15 for Liggett. Kristen Massey scored 29 for Franklin Road (11-8).
Ionia 53, St. Johns 48: Sarah Swartz had 24 points and Taylor Bovee 13 for Ionia (15-5). Clare Whitford and Tiana VanHorn each scored 10 for St. Johns (9-11).
Livonia Stevenson 41, Milford 38: Rachel Wilkinson had 14 points for Stevenson (12-7). Aubrey Long scored 10 for Milford (7-13).
Marysville 55, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 48: Madison Valko had 18 points, Devan Valko 13 and Payton Husson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for Marysville (16-4, 11-1 MAC Gold), which won its league title for the third year in a row. Kim Hardy scored 15 for Lake Shore (16-4, 9-3).
Northville 53, Pinckney 40: Gabby Mencotti had 19 points and Heather Randall 17 for Northville (15-5). Simone Smith scored 18 for Pinckney (6-14).
Novi 39, Waterford Kettering 36: Kerri McMahan had 17 points and Taylor Pavlika 10 for Novi (16-4).
Oak Park 33, Southfield 27: Deana Williams scored 13 for Oak Park (10-9, 8-5 OAA Blue).
Plymouth 54, Howell 48: Kendall Rose had 17 points and Jada Woody 12 for Plymouth (16-4). Maggie Jenison scored 20 for Howell (15-5).
Plymouth Christian 42, Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest 27: Rachel Smith had 16 points and Jen Malcolm had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Plymouth Christian (10-9, 7-6 MIAC Blue). Elizabeth Rouce scored eight for Lutheran Northwest (4-15, 2-12).
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 55, Detroit Consortium 32: Lindsey Klei had 17 points and Megan Kraus 10 for Notre Dame (13-6). Milana Stromile scored 11 for Consortium (11-7).
Romulus 63, Melvindale 16: Cierra Bond had 19 points and JeLani Shinn 13 for Romulus (16-4).
South Lyon East 43, White Lake Lakeland 20: Gabi Bird had 17 points and Sydney Jones 13 for South Lyon. Dominique Zigo scored seven for Lakeland (10-10).
St. Clair Shores South Lake 59, Marine City 36: NaKyra Jordan had 17 points and Lauren Giurlanda 16 for South Lake (13-6). Karyssa Austin had 10 points for Marine City.
Utica 54, Port Huron 50: Cierra VonZittwitz had 27 points and Ivana Marceta 13 for Utica (7-13, 6-6 MAC White). Emily Langolf scored 18 for Port Huron (9-11, 6-6).
Waterford Mott 55, Canton 43: Lauren Hung had 28 points and Moriah Williams 14 in the KLAA Association Championship game for Mott (18-2). Paige Aresco scored 19 for Canton (16-4).
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 55, Garden City 34: Payton Sims had 16 points and Nastassja Chambers 10 for Arbor Prep (17-3). Abby Joseph scored 10 for Garden City (13-7).
Marissa McNees is a freelance writer; Detroit News staff contributed