Chandler Park overcomes early deficit, hostile environment to advance

By Nolan Bianchi
Associated Press

After falling into a nine-point hole to open the District 59 title game, Harper Woods Chandler Park rose above the heat in enemy territory and advanced to a 62-58 victory over rival Harper Woods in a Division 2 district final Friday.

Senior guard Derrick Bryant Jr. led the scoring barrage that Chandler Park (18-0) put on after the first quarter and finished with 20 points and six assists. Andre Bradford and Jayland Randll each scored 14.

“Derrick just controlled the tempo all night,” Chandler Park coach James Scott said. “He got big-time buckets for himself, and found his teammates for big-time buckets.”

Under the bright lights of a standing-room-only crowd, a handful of technical fouls were assessed and composure was often lost — which is to be expected when a pair of schools that occupy opposite sides of the same block meet under such pretense.

“I said whoever stays focused a majority of the game would come out on top,” Scott said.

While he would have preferred for Chandler Park to avoid its biggest rival’s home gym on the road to a district title, he believes his team will benefit because of it.

“I think it helps moving forward, being in that type of situation. It was a lot of our guys’ first time in that type of hostile environment,” Scott said. “Every game going forward is intense like this from start to finish.”

Ken Thomas led Harper Woods (12-7) with 21 points.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.