Wayne — Brendan Balko and Chad Stevens stepped up and played big roles for Westland John Glenn Tuesday night in its intense rivalry game with Wayne Memorial.
With standout senior guards Joe Moon and Renel Thrasher being harassed defensively and combining for just 38 points — 15 under their combined average — on 8-of-32 shooting, Balko and Stevens took over in helping John Glenn (9-4, 7-2) to a 67-63 victory to complete the season sweep while earning a share of first place in the KLAA East Division.
It was Stevens who set the tempo, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. He finished with 10 points, making a free throw to open a 65-61 lead with 17.1 seconds left.
“I had some great assists on the early 3s I made and couldn’t have done it without Joe and Renel,” Stevens said. “This is the biggest game of the year for both teams guaranteed. In the last game we had two players ejected, lots of techs. We played them last year in districts and they beat us and this year we beat them twice so we just wanted revenge and we got it.”
And, Balko, a 6-foot-6 junior center, contributed eight points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:13 remaining and John Glenn holding a seven-point lead.
It was Balko who scored off a putback in the final seconds of the first half to cap off a 5-0 run for a 34-26 halftime advantage.
Then, with Wayne (10-3, 7-2 KLAA East) battling back with its fullcourt pressure and trap to force multiple turnovers, Balko made an inside shot off a putback for a 56-49 lead with 5:20 left, then hit a 12-footer for a 60-49 cushion.
“I’m just grateful for having Coach (Rod) Watts for giving me the opportunity,” said Balko. “I knew my job going in was to rebound and I just tried to perfect it.”
Moon, who averages 28 and recently received offers from Central Connecticut and Indianapolis, scored 21, making 11-of-14 free throws, seven free throws during the fourth quarter.
Thrasher, who averages 25, scored 17, making two free throws with 4.6 seconds left for the final margin of victory, making the free throws after converting just 4-of-10 prior to stepping to the 15-foot stripe.
Wayne senior guard Isaiah Lewis scored 27, 10 coming during the fourth quarter when he made both of his 3-pointers. Cortier Muse-Sober had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
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Belleville 63, Livonia Stevenson 57: Lorenzo Wright scored 20, Connor Bush 17 and Andrew Leany 15 for Belleville (8-5, 7-2 KLAA East). Chris Mars had 11 points for Stevenson (8-5, 6-3).
Bloomfield Hills Roeper 55, Ann Arbor Steiner 45: Jacob Gladney scored 21 for Roeper (8-4, 2-3 MIAC). Maurice Payne scored 17 for Steiner (5-8).
Canton 55, Northville 51: D.Artis White had 24 points and Binson Sigmon 16 for Canton (12-1, 9-0 KLAA West). Steven Morrissey led Northville (10-3, 6-3) with 25 points.
Milford 37, Walled Lake Northern 34: Nolan Rand had 15 points and Gunnar Gustafason nine for Millford (11-3, 5-2 Lakes Valley). Andre Price and Troy Lattimore scored nine each and Zach Brunet eight for Northern (14-1, 7-1).
Novi 52, Salem 38: Jiovanni Miles scored 17 for Novi (7-6, 6-3 KLAA West). Ben Dierker scored 15 for Salem.
Rochester Adams 67, Troy Athens 49: Ethan Emerzian scored 26 and Jake Schuler 16 for Adams (12-3, 8-1 OAA White). Anthony DeVito had 14 points for Athens (3-11, 1-8).
Taylor Trillium 62, Taylor Prep 60: Jaylin Achinson scored 23 and Eli Fishburn 16 for Trillium (6-7, 2-5 Michigan Metro). Taylor Prep is 8-4, 4-3.
West Bloomfield Frankel 37, Clarkston Everest 34: Michael McGrath scored 17, Ethan Mostyn 15 and Ryan Otis 13 for Frankel (10-6, 7-4 Catholic Intersectional 2). Everest is 5-8, 5-5.
White Lake Lakeland 42, Walled Lake Central 32: Max Deagan had 11 points and three assists and Trent Farquhar nine points for Lakeland (10-4, 6-2 Lakes Valley). Lavell Narcisse scored nine for Central (6-9, 4-3).
Brighton 46, Plymouth 22: Lauren Brown and Sopie Dziekan each scored 10 for Brighton (13-0, 9-0 KLAA West). Kendall McCaig scored five for Plymouth (8-5, 4-5).
Farmington Hills Mercy 49, Dearborn Divine Child 47: Julia Bishop scored 17 and Alexis Roberts 13 for Mercy (9-3, 5-2 Catholic Central). Elena Walker had 18 points and Maddie Rzepka 11 points for Divine Child (7-5, 3-3).
Grosse Pointe North 61, Grosse Pointe South 46: Julia Ayrault had 28, Evelyn Zacharias 11 and Christina Baker 10 for North (12-1, 8-0 MAC Red). Maria Hessburg scored 11 and Sydni Hall 10 for South (7-5, 3-5).
Walled Lake Central 41, White Lake Lakeland 27: Rizaria Franklin scored 18 for Central (9-5, 4-3 Lakes Valley) and Molly Libby nine for Lakeland (2-10, 1-6).
Detroit News staff contributed.