Belleville — Let the upsets continue!
After No. 5 Clarkston and No. 12 Detroit Cass Tech got sent to the sidelines on the first night of the state tournament on Monday, Saline tossed aside its two regular-season losses to No. 14 Ann Arbor Pioneer with a thrilling 63-52 victory in a Division 1 district semifinal Wednesday night.
And, it was 6-foot-5 senior Logan Evans who came up with the game of his life for Saline, scoring a career-high 27 to lead the way.
Saline (13-9) was 0-6 against SEC Red rivals Pioneer, Ann Arbor Huron and Ann Arbor Skyline heading into the districts. It defeated Ann Arbor Huron 56-46 in overtime Monday to earn the right to face Pioneer, which had defeated Saline (53-48, 57-41) during the regular season.
But, Evans changed all that on Wednesday.
Evans didn’t go out for basketball his junior year, concentrating on baseball, which was a good move considering he will pitch next year for Penn State.
Well, Evans missed basketball and asked Saline coach Jake Fosdick if he could come out this fall and Fosdick opened the door for him … and he’s glad he did.
Evans set the tempo by scoring 11 in the opening quarter, making three 3-pointers. He had 13 at halftime to help Saline take a 28-27 lead, then made two more 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Saline open a 46-41 cushion.
When Pioneer pulled within 53-52 with two minutes left, Evans knocked down his sixth 3-pointer to start a game-ending 10-0 run, which he capped with an exclamation dunk with 16.6 seconds left to send Saline’s crowd into a frenzy.
“I don’t think I ever made this many 3s in my career, just my first varsity year as a senior,” said Evans, whose previous high was 13 points. “I committed to Penn State for baseball so I didn’t play basketball last year but I really missed it.
“Trevor (Arico) and Griff *Griffin Yaklich) found me. We knew the game plan was to attack (Drew) Lowder and attack their weaker defensive guys and Kasean (Pryor) came to help on a lot of those drives and they kicked it out to me and I was just hitting my shots today.”
Saline junior guards Trevor Arico and Griffin Yaklich are sons of coaches: Arico, the son of Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes-Arico, and Yaklich, the son of Michigan assistant men’s basketball coach Luke Yaklich.
Arico scored 20, including eight during the third quarter. Yaklich had a double-double, including 11 points.
Holy Cross-bound point guard Drew Lowder scored 27 for Pioneer and senior guard Aidan Wright 18 with each making three 3-pointers. Kasean Pryor, a 6-7 senior, was limited to eight points.
Still, it was Evans who stole the show.
“Me and Logan have had a great relationship throughout his high school career," said Fosdick of Evans. "He was focusing on baseball and he’s going to Penn State so it's paid off. He called me this fall and said Coach will you have me. It was like, heck yes we’ll have you. He’s been huge for us all year rebounding and making shots today was obviously a breakout game and that’s why he’s meant to be here, to make shots like that.
“Logan is a heck of a shooter. Obviously, his role is to be a screener, but with Kasean and them helping out on Trevor and Grif, the pick and pop was there and he made it work tonight.”