February 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Tom Markowski

Prep Insider: Cass Tech sets goals -- championships

Detroit -- It's been 15 years since Cass Tech (15-1) won a Detroit Public School League boys basketball title, and on Tuesday it will play Detroit Southeastern (14-3) in a semifinal with the winner advancing to Friday's PSL final against Detroit Pershing (17-0) or Detroit Douglass (11-5).

"Our goals haven't changed," said Dixon, a favorite for the Class A state title. "And that's the goal to be a champion."

Dixon said before the season this team was good enough to win PSL and state titles, and so far Cass Tech has shown it is capable of achieving both.

Last season was to be Dixon's fourth as Cass Tech's head coach, but when he re-applied for the position, as all DPS coaches are asked to do, Dixon was not retained. An argument between parents, alumni and administrators took place and in mid-season Dixon was re-hired.

"There was so much turmoil last season," Dixon said. "We've grown together."

As far as talent, Cass Tech has as much as any team in the state. Point guard D'Andre Johnson (6-0) has received scholarship offers from a dozen Division I schools. D'Angelo Stewart (6-5) signed with Southern Illinois. Senior Kyle Steward (6-7) is a college prospect. Charles Key (6-4) and Tim Carpenter (6-5) also start.

"We have guys who can play multiple positions," Dixon said. "We look to attack the mismatches.

"Southeastern has size as well. They're experienced and they're tough. They defend and rebound. Their two guards (Kenyatta Singleton and Jo'Vone Haynes) have played varsity for four years."

The underdog in the semifinals is Douglass, the only Class B team remaining. Douglass is in the semifinals for the first time and faces a team it lost to in overtime (73-67) on Jan. 11.

"We're the sleeper," Douglass coach Nkwane Young said. "The others have seniors leading their team. I like the way we're playing. They've grown up with all the tough losses we've had."

There are no seniors on Young's team.

Picks: Cass Tech and Pershing

One to remember

The two Bloomfield Hills public schools, Andover and Lahser, will merge next fall. But before that takes place Lahser is in the midst of completing a successful two-year run.

Last season, Lahser won a district title and finished 18-6. On Thursday, Lahser dismantled Lake Orion, a team it lost to in the regionals last season, 67-40.

"We played much better defensively," Lahser coach Duane Graves said of Thursday's games. "We played a much faster-paced basketball game."

Lahser (11-3, 5-2) still trails Lake Orion (10-5, 5-1) by a game in the OAA Blue Division, but there's a bigger prize to be won — another district title.

Graves returned all five starters from a year ago and his top three players are juniors, Yante Maten , Armand Cartwright and Kahlil Gracey . Maten is 6-9, averages 14 points and is being recruited by Butler, Kent State and Oakland, among others.

"Maten could be a three or a four in college," Graves said. "For us, he plays in the paint. He's bought into the system. All my players bought into it."

Right place, right time

Jeff Olind has been waiting for an opportunity like the one he has as head coach at Warren Mott this season, his first head coaching job.

Olind spent two seasons as an assistant as Auburn Hills Avondale and before that was the junior varsity coach at Grosse Pointe South.

Mott returned just one starter ( Keith Phillips ) and a couple of others who played briefly. Expectations were not high.

"It was a fresh start for everyone," Olind said.

Mott (12-1) is 8-0 in the MAC White Division and looking for the school's first district title.

Phillips, a 6-5 forward, is averaging 17.5 points and 12.2 rebounds.

Junior Kenny Goins (6-7) has been the surprise. Goins recently recorded a triple double and is averaging 12.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Olind said Goins has never played AAU but is interested in participating on a team this spring.

Young makes his point

James Young and Rochester might have just turned the corner on a season clouded with doubt to one of success.

Young, a 6-6 forward and a candidate for Mr. Basketball who has accepted a scholarship to play at Kentucky, has been outstanding in his last four games, all victories (150 points and 78 rebounds).

"Defensively we've been good all year," Rochester coach John Pleasant said. "Offensively, we've switched up recently. We've been letting (Young) run the point and posting him up at times. We had him on the wing, which is where he'll play at (Kentucky). He's just been more effective at the point. When he gets the ball going downhill he's tough to stop."

Rochester (11-2) is 5-1 in the OAA White Division, a game behind Rochester Adams (14-0, 6-0). Rochester plays at Adams on Feb. 26 and hosts Romulus on Feb. 23.

By the numbers

4 -- Number of Class A teams (Fenton, Grand Blanc, Pershing and Rochester Adams) still undefeated

6 -- Number of PSL titles for Detroit Pershing

10 -- Number of 3-pointers made by junior Drew Zuidema of Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (7-7) in a 73-64 victory over Detroit Westside Christian on Feb. 2. Zuidema, who scored 26 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter, has 60 3-pointers this season.

Top performance

Rochester senior James Young had 43 points and 22 rebounds in Rochester's 78-60 victory over Auburn Hills Avondale on Thursday.

PSL playoffs

GIRLS

Monday at Detroit Western: Pershing (10-3) vs. Cass Tech (15-0), 5:30 p.m.; King (15-0) vs. Renaissance (12-4), 7 p.m.

Friday at Calihan Hall: Final, 5 p.m.

BOYS

Tuesday at Cass Tech: Southeastern (14-3) at Cass Tech (15-1), 5:30 p.m.; Pershing (17-0) vs. Douglass (11-5), 7 p.m.

Friday at Calihan Hall: Final, 7 p.m.

Quotable

"I'm pleased. We had some of our weaknesses exposed. We have some things to fix. We've got a ways to go."

-- Romulus coach Nate Oats after defeating three state-ranked teams -- Detroit Country Day, Detroit Consortium and Saginaw Arthur Hill -- in consecutive games.

tom.markowski@detroitnews.com

Kyle Steward is one of many players on a star-studded Cass Tech team looking to win the PSL title this week and a state title next month. / Daniel Mears/Detroit News
Romulus is 13-1 this season under Nate Oats. (John T. Greilick/Detroit News)
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