Pershing's Darsean Woodson drives on Southeastern's Eahn Blackwell on Friday at Calihan Hall. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)
Detroit — Somehow, someway, Detroit Pershing finds a way to win.
Down 13 points with 3:20 remaining, Pershing came back to tie the game on Mory Diane’s 6-foot runner in the lane with 34 seconds left, then held on in overtime to defeat Detroit Southeastern, 57-56, to win the Detroit Public School League championship on Friday before 2,351 at Calihan Hall.
It’s Pershing second consecutive title and fourth in six years.
“It’s different in the PSL,” said Diane, a transfer from Detroit Country Day, who led Pershing with 15 points. “I seen one before when (Detroit) King beat Pershing (2012). Playing in front of a crowd as loud as this. It was like playing in a semifinal when I was at Country Day.
“I just knew I had to score. I was just looking for my shot. Coach (Wydell) Henry told me to take it unless I was double-teamed.”
Pershing (18-2), ranked No. 2 in Class A, scored the first four points of the overtime as Justin Tillman, named Mr. PSL at halftime, dunked with 3:07 left for a 56-52 lead.
Dwayne Embry’s free throw gave Pershing a 57-55 lead with 1:14 remaining and Leonard Harper-Baker’s free throw with 53.5 seconds left ended the scoring.
Pershing called time out with 32 seconds left and Southeastern finally fouled Kameron Barden with 6.2 seconds left. Barden missed both free throws but he and fellow senior Darsean Woodson double teamed Anthony Randall who was unable to get a last-season shot off.
“Right then I was thinking, get a stop and no fouls,” Woodson said. “We usually start slow and come back so that didn’t bother me. It’s great to win back-to-back. We don’t believe in giving up.”
Southeastern (13-7) controlled the tempo for 90 percent of the game. It just couldn’t finish.
“We panicked,” coach George Ward said. “Pershing did a great job. We dominated the game. I’m not going to stand here and say I didn’t expect it.
“We were just terrible at the free throw line. I almost went on a tangent at the end of practice yesterday. At the end some of the guys were messing around. And they were the same guys who missed the free throws at the end.
“But we don’t make excuses at Southeastern. I don’t even know how to spell it.”
Southeastern was 17-of-36 from the line, 4-of-12 in the fourth quarter.
Pershing was 14-of-23 but made its last four, two each by Marquel Ingram and Barden (13 points, 10 rebounds), in the last 1:07 of regulation.
Despite the loss, Harper-Baker played an exceptional game defensively on Tillman. At 6-foot-5 Harper-Baker is two inches shorter but he blocked five of Tillman’s shots and held him to eight points. Tillman did have 18 rebounds and six blocks. Harper-Baker led Southeastern with 15 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks.
Southeastern led 21-9 at the end of the first quarter and 29-19 at halftime.
Pershing got within 37-33 before a Harper-Baker basket and a 3-point play by D’Cari Charleston (12 points, nine rebounds) pushed the lead to 42-33 at the end of the third quarter.
Tillman’s dunk with 3:02 left cut Southeastern’s lead to 50-39 and started the comeback.
Southeastern committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter, two in the final minute.
“My guys kept believing,” Henry said. “It was my fault we came out too passive. I told my guys to keep fighting.”
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Detroit News staff contributed.