Bloomfield Hills – Brendan Downs made sure Detroit Catholic Central got off to a strong start in its Catholic League A-B Division tournament semifinal game Wednesday night, defeating Detroit Loyola 74-58.
Downs, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored Catholic Central’s first five points with a 3-pointer and tip-in to help his team take a 15-4 lead after one with Downs contributing five points and five rebounds.
Then, Catholic Central — 13-3 and No. 16 in The Detroit News Super 20 rankings — continued to dominate, using a 12-2 run to close the second quarter and open a 36-12 halftime lead.
Catholic Central shot 60 percent from the field in the first half, displaying outstanding ball movement while limiting Loyola to 25-percent shooting to show it is ready to face No. 4 U-D Jesuit in Saturday’s 7 p.m. title game at Calihan Hall.
U-D Jesuit has won six straight Catholic League championships and earned the right to play in the title game with a 46-38 victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Tuesday night.
“We’re excited to make it to the championship game,” said Downs who finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, joining 6-7 teammates Davis Lukomski (19 points) and Justin Rukat (12 points) to make things tough on both ends of the court for Loyola. “We had two tough losses to U-D. We know their game and we’re ready. We want to beat them in a good environment.
“I thought we were making our shots in the first half so we had some room for error in the second half. I think our main thing is our size. I don’t think there’s a team in the state that can match our size and we utilize that and we have some great outside shooters as well.”
Catholic Central coach Brandon Sinawi, who guided Novi to the Class A semifinals last season, was impressed with Downs.
“He’s a good player, underrated I think,” Sinawi said. “He’s somebody that we obviously want to run things through, but he’s unselfish at the same time. He creates havoc defensively and is a matchup problem since we play him at the two. He’s one of the reasons that we get a chance to play U-D again.”
When asked to comment on the first half, Sinawi replied: “When they come out and execute like that, they are just taking what we practice and transferring that into the game, which is nice to see. They are unselfish and they like to play with each other. They are familiarizing themselves with what I’m trying to do and implement in my first year and they’ve bought in. They know what it takes to win.”
Catholic Central scored the first four points — two free throws and a dunk in transition by Rukat — for its largest lead (40-13), carrying a 56-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Loyola (11-6) used its full-court pressure to pull within 10 (61-51) early in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
Mark Mayberry and Dylan Hemphill each scored 14 for Loyola with Hemphill making four 3-pointers. Javionne Thompson scored 13 and Cam Hudson had 12.
More Catholic League semifinals
Ann Arbor Greenhills 31, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 29: Drew Sachs sparked a comeback in the final two minutes to help Greenhills defeat Bishop Foley for the third time this season and advance to Saturday’s 5 p.m. title game at Calihan Hall against Royal Oak Shrine.
Sachs, a junior guard, scored four points during a 7-1 run in the final two minutes to turn a 28-24 deficit into the victory.
First, Sachs took an inbounds pass for a layup to cut the deficit to 29-28 with 36 seconds left, then made a pair of free throws for a 30-29 cushion with 21 seconds remaining.
Bishop Foley (8-9) missed three of five free throws during the final 3 1/2 minutes, including the front end of a 1-and-1.
Freshman guard Finn Klein scored seven for Greenhills (15-3) which earned a 57-38 win over Bishop Foley on Dec. 14 and a 63-60 overtime win on Jan. 15 to help earn a share of the Intersectional 1 title with Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook and Royal Oak Shrine.
More boys basketball
Birmingham Groves 55, Troy Athens 41: Daniel Lee had 22 points and 18 rebounds and Devin White scored 12 for Groves (10-7, 7-4 OAA White). Josh Seifert scored 18 for Troy Athens (4-14, 2-10).
Canton 75, Plymouth 62: B. Artis White scored 24 for Canton (16-1, 13-0 KLAA West). Ryan Berger scored 20 for Plymouth (7-10, 4-9).
Dearborn 69, Westland John Glenn 54: Alieu Kah scored 20, Ben Clark 15 and Ali Zahr and Niemer Hammod 12 for Dearborn (7-10, 7-6 KLAA East). Joe Moon scored 23 for John Glenn (10-4, 9-4).
Dearborn Heights Annapolis 69, Dearborn Heights Crestwood 57: Avery Isnail had 19 points and 23 rebounds and Roderick Campbell scored 15 for Annapolis (9-10, 5-8 Western Wayne). Zach Jawad scored 15 for Crestwood (8-8, 6-6).
Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy 76, Old Redford Academy 51: Andre Bradford scored 20, Tyland Tate had 13 points and eight rebounds and Derrick Brian Jr. 11 points and eight assists for Chandler Park (16-0) in a Charter School Conference semifinal. Kenjuan Andreus scored 32 for Old Redford.
Lincoln Park 49, Allen Park 43 (OT): Reece Smith scored 13 for Lincoln Park (6-9). Jacob Marsee scored 12 for Allen Park (3-14).
New Haven 67, Sterling Heights Stevenson 50: Ronald Jefferey III scored 22, Tre Payne had 14 points and five rebounds and Romeo Weems 13 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks for New Haven (17-1) which advances to the MAC championship game on Friday.
Oak Park 92, St. Clair Shores South Lake 63: Devonte Edwards scored 17, Fred Garland 15, Chris Gary 14 and Maliq Carr had 12 points and 16 rebounds for Oak Park (11-5). Artez Weathington scored 11 for South Lake.
St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 40, Anchor Bay 27: Caleb Bates had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Malik Hill scored 10 and Nick Olmeda seven for Lake Shore (15-2).
Southfield Bradford 56, Romulus Summit Academy North 41: Perry Redd scored 17 and Steve Smith 16 for Bradford (11-4). Orlando Lovejoy scored 14 for Summit (7-9).
Walled Lake Northern 61, South Lyon East 47: Kevyn Robertson scored 16 and Jack McGuire 14 for Walled Lake Northern (16-2) in an opening round Lakes Valley Conference game. Adam Trent scored 11 for South Lyon East (4-14).
Warren De La Salle 88, Detroit Frederick Douglass 71: Joe Gjonaj scored 25, Matt Osterhout 18 and Will Smythe 19 for De La Salle (8-9). Pierre Brooks II scored 24 for Frederick Douglass (7-10).
Warren Woods Tower 70, Macomb L’Anse Creuse 46: Lee Veasley scored 20 for Warren Woods Tower (11-6). Jordan Johnson scored 14 for L’Anse Creuse (9-7).
Dearborn 43, Westland John Glenn 40: Erin Moran had 10 points and 15 rebounds, Sarah Campbell scored 10, Emma Obermiller nine and Malak Alhajj eight for Dearborn (9-7, 8-5 KLAA East). India Grissom scored 13 for John Glenn (7-10, 5-8).
Farmington Hills Mercy 62, Royal Oak Shrine 51: Alexis Roberts scored 21 and Julia Bishop 15 for Mercy (12-4). Grace Murray scored 21 for Shrine (11-4).
Hartland 45, Novi 21: Syd Caddell scored 10 and Madi Moyer nine for Hartland (14-2, 12-1 KLAA West). Novi is 6-10 6-7.
New Haven 63, Madison Heights Madison 22: Lydia Capaldi scored 19, Jada Turner 15 and Dara Capaldi 13 for New Haven (14-1, 8-0 MAC Bronze). Ashili Lee scored 13 for Madison Heights Madison (3-12, 3-5).
Plymouth 33, Canton 25: Kyra Brandon scored 11 and Kenna White eight for Plymouth (11-6, 7-6 KLAA West). Noel Blain scored 17 for Canton (1-14, 0-11).
Trenton 54, Lincoln Park 46: Alayna Mulford recorded her sixth straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Kayla Everingham scored 12 for Trenton (14-2, 11-1 Downriver League). Karrington Gordon scored 29 for Lincoln Park (6-9, 4-8).
Detroit News staff contributed.