Coaches don’t always have a lot of faith in freshmen during crunch time.
According to Detroit Denby girls basketball coach Bird Sullivan, freshman guard Taylor Sullivan isn’t a typical rookie.
“She’s very composed for a freshman,” Bird Sullivan said. “She’s very focused and locked in. She has a very high IQ, and she handled the pressure well.”
That pressure came in the form of a nail-biting free throw with fewer than 30 seconds left in a tie game against Detroit Osborn at Denby on Monday night.
Taylor Sullivan sank the free throw and Denby went on to win, 39-36.
After Taylor Sullivan converted from the charity stripe, senior guard Meshani Heath got a steal and threw a pinpoint outlet pass to sohpomore guard Eshawnda Smith, who layed it in on the fast break with less than 10 seconds left. Osborn couldn’t get a clean shot off on its last possession.
Smith was the best player on the court, scoring 20 with 14 rebounds. She’s had double-digit points in all four games for Denby (3-1, 1-0 PSL East) this season.
“She excels in steals and ball pressure,” Bird Sullivan said. “She got the majority of her points off of defense and attacking the basket.”
Junior center LaAngel Bursey had nine points and 14 rebounds for Denby. She was one point away from starting the season with four-straight double-doubles.
“She (Bursey) attacks the glass like a monster,” Bird Sullivan said. “She keeps her feet on the ground and then jumps off two (feet). She outlets well to our point guard or if it’s an offensive rebound she can go right back up with it.”
Bird Sullivan said Denby has the right recipe to keep winning.
“We’ve got to stay consistent with our defense, but our team chemistry is so much more cohesive this year. That’s making a big difference on the court.”
More girls basketball
Detroit Cass Tech 53, Detroit West Side 13: Ariah Powell had 14 points, Desiree Jackson 11 and Precious Fields 11 with seven rebounds for Cass Tech (3-0, 1-0 PSL Midtown). West Side is 1-2, 0-1.
Detroit East English 62, Detroit Southeastern 8: Jayla Smith had 35 points and 12 rebounds, Kendal Taylor 14 points and 10 steals and Te’a Leonard 10 points and 10 assists for East English (4-1, 1-0 PSL East).
Detroit King 54, Detroit International 10: Deljanae Williams scored 20, Charelle Mathis 15 and Erica Martin 13 for King (2-0, 1-0 PSL Midtown).
Detroit Renaissance 66, Detroit Central 4: Ariasha Robertson and Mikyah Finley each scored 12 for Renaissance (2-1, 1-0 PSL West). Central is 0-1, 0-1.
Detroit Western 50, Detroit Collegiate Prep 18: LaChyna Fuller scored 25 and Egypt Fuller 12 for Western (1-0). Collegiate Prep is 0-2.
Utica 53, Rochester Admas 36: Cayley Ebelling scored 18 and Mone Knowles 10 for Utica (2-2). Maddie Dolenga had 12 points and five assists and Lauren Petersmark nine points and seven rebounds for Adams (1-3).
Bloomfield Hills Roeper 70, New Haven Merritt 44: Evan Akkashian scored 19 for Roeper (4-1). Davon Deshazo scored 18 for Merritt (1-5).
Detroit Cristo Rey 54, Allen Park Cabrini 41: Satchel Love had 24 points and eight rebounds and Lamondo Brown 18 points for Cristo Rey (2-5, 1-3 Catholic Intersectional 2). Joseph Smith and Robert O’Guin each scored 11 for Cabrini (2-5, 1-4).
Peck 51, Caseville 20: Zac Dudley scored 14 and Cody Babcock 10 for Peck (2-2, 1-0 North Central Thumb Stripes). Andrew Pattengill scored nine for Caseville (1-3, 0-2).
Quincy 44, Adrian Madison 39: William Dunn had 22 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and four steals, and Caleb McCavitt had six points and six rebounds for Quincy (6-0, 3-0 Big 8). Kyle Rodesiler scored six for Madison (4-3, 3-0 Tri-County).
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 66, Wyandotte 37: Coleman Street had 26 points, Lyndon Henderson had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Maurice Anderson 12 points for Arbor Prep (6-2). Wyandotte is 1-4, 0-1 Downriver.
Other girls basketball scores
Detroit Cody 54, Detroit Henry Ford 8
Detroit Mumford 54, Detroit CMA 13
Detroit Pershing 34, Detroit Davis Aerospace 2
Bloomfield Hills 55, Waterford Lakes 32
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood 44, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 40
Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse 68, Armada 45
Melvindale 34, Southfield Christian 31
Walled Lake Western 66, Birmingham Groves 25
Other boys basketball scores
Southfield Christian 81, Mount Clemens 25
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.