West Bloomfield — The walls at West Bloomfield High School officially came crumbling to the ground midway through the third quarter.
That is when Detroit Consortium sophomore guard Joshua Jackson threw down his second two-handed slam dunk that he caught off the backboard from Luster Johnson, which came seconds after the first one from Ronald Booth.
It was the signature play in a signature game during which Consortium (23-2) beat 24-2 Mount Clemens, 67-60, Tuesday in an action-packed Class C quarterfinal.
It was during this signature moment that Jackson turned from distributor to destroyer. This is when he went on his own personal 10-0 run. It is when he seemed to grab every rebound and make every play.
This is when the Consortium fans danced a wicked jig and celebrated as if there were no tomorrow.
He was nearly perfect, his only transgression the foul trouble that landed him on the bench as a 12-point fourth-quarter lead slipped away.
His next stop is the Class C semifinals Thursday against Negaunee, which beat East Jordan, 63-42.
Consortium is a much different team with Jackson, who finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds, than without him. He lasted 145 seconds on the bench, returning with his team up just two points, 52-50, with 5:35 remaining, following a three-point play by Mount Clemens’ Joshua McFolley.
The game turned into a dogfight from that point forward. Mount Clemens actually had a chance to take the lead, but freshman Jermaine Jackson Jr. missed a wide-open 3-point shot late in the game.
It is a shot he will make down the road because he is an up-and-coming player. This wasn’t his night, however.
Beyond his years
It belonged to the 6-foot-8 sophomore guard who plays a little like Magic Johnson and Kevin Durant. Josh Jackson is a smooth ballhandler who eats up the ground in just a few strides as he pounds the ball into the court like a battering ram.
Jackson is not allowed to talk to the media because of his youth, but he plays like a man and is the main reason this school is in the semifinals.
Consortium plays with that Detroit swagger and it may have been the difference.
“They didn’t play anybody,” coaches barked as they entered the dressing room. “They didn’t play who we played.”
“We’ve been in eight games like this,” coach Tobias Tuomi said. “They have only been in one game like this.”
Amidst all the monster jams and missed layups, though, Mount Clemens missed too many free throws to win.
The game was tied 30-30 at the half and that is when Tuomi and his seniors broke it down in the dressing room. They believed they were the better team but missed opportunities and sloppy play cost them.
“We just told the guys, and I am going to tell you the truth,” Tuomi said, “we are 10 points better than this team. We just have to play like it. I felt like we were 10 points better and we said to finish the basketball game.”
Consortium had that finishing power, but it was scary for a moment. Mount Clemens is a long, athletic and aggressive team. It stood toe to toe and battled to the end. It was appropriate that the court was roped off because at times this looked like one of those pay-per-view UFC fights.
Just when you thought Mount Clemens was about to go night-night, guys like McFolley, Charles Penn III and Jackson made plays.
Mount Clemens might not have played the schedule Consortium did, but coach Jermaine Jackson Sr., the former star at the University of Detroit, found ways to keep his team in it.
Consortium, however, had one more difference-maker in Joshua Jackson.