Detroit Cass Tech beat Detroit King at its own game Tuesday afternoon, putting on a strong defensive effort to earn a 55-41 victory on its home floor in an early season PSL showdown.
Cass Tech, using fullcourt pressure and a halfcourt trap, never allowed King to get comfortable and limited it to 25-percent shooting (11-of-44), including 4-of-20 from 3-point range.
Cass Tech (4-1) led 10-2 after one quarter, forcing five turnovers while limiting King (2-1) to 1-of-14 shooting.
King did pull within 21-20 at halftime with its lone solid shooting quarter of the game (5-of-13).
But Cass Tech used a 14-1 run midway through the third quarter to take control with a 37-23 lead.
First, 6-foot-6 senior Joshua Harris blocked a shot which sparked the run with junior point guard Tyson Acuff making a pair of free throws, followed by a Kalil Whitehead dunk off a steal from the trap, then a steal inside by Harris leading to a three-point play (basket and free throw) by Whitehead to open up a 32-22 lead.
“We came out at halftime and it was a close game and stuff and I got that blocked shot and my team needed one,” Harris said. “We work on defense nine times out of 10 at practice. We press all day in practice, that’s all Coach (Steve Hall) has us do. We’re Press Tech.”
Whitehead, a 6-5 senior, had 19 points, 17 in the second half, including a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Kyle Legreair in the final minutes, followed by a dunk off a putback to put the exclamation point on the outcome.
“I challenged them at halftime,” Hall said. “We started the game well in the first quarter, then we got relaxed and didn’t have a good second quarter. They responded to the challenge. We just wanted to be intense, have good shot selection and amp up our pressure a little bit and it worked for us.”
Hall had high praise for Whitehead.
“Kalil Whitehead is probably the most underrated player in the state,” Hall said. “I can’t blame people if they don’t know about him. I listen to the Mr. Basketball watch list and he’s one of only a couple of guys that signed early (with Chicago State), Division I in the PSL. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. He can really play. He’s been a system player who has waited his turn. He’s gotten better and better every year and he’s had a phenomenal year so far.”
Harris finished with 15 points and eight rebounds and Acuff six points and seven assists.
Senior guard Jordan Whitford scored 11 for King and senior guard Keith Tate scored 10, all during the second quarter, including three 3-pointers.
Cass Tech will face Ypsilanti at 5 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence Tech.