Cass Tech girls pitch shutout ... in basketball

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Cass Tech girls basketball coach Marissa Thrower, shown here in last season's PSL championship game, has not experienced anything like Wednesday night's 80-0 victory over Detroit Osborn.

The Detroit Cass Tech girls basketball team made history Wednesday by blanking Detroit Osborn in a PSL girls basketball game, 80-0.

Yes, it would be easy to say shutouts don't happen much in basketball. And, it could have been worse.

Much worse.

Cass Tech coach Marissa Thrower took off the press halfway through the first quarter, then removed her starters for the rest of the game with two minutes left in the quarter and her team leading, 20-0.

"It was a huge mismatch, you could tell that midway through the first quarter and that's when we stopped pressing," Thrower said. "I took out my starters for the rest of the game with two minutes left in the quarter and we were leading 20-0."

Thrower sent in her subs, she said mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores and they made the most of their minutes, especially during the second quarter to push the score to 61-0 at halftime.

"We didn't press again after that first quarter, played 2-3 zone the rest of the game," Thrower said. "Our younger kids got a lot more minutes than they typically would in a big game and they went hard and played hard.

"They'd reach in and foul at times so at halftime I told them not to reach, just focus on fundamentals, you know, move your feet on defense, box out and run some plays."

Cass Tech is one of the top teams in the city with an 11-3 record with its lone losses coming against defending PSL champion King, Southfield-Lathrup and Grosse Pointe South, all teams ranked in The News' preseason top 20.

Thrower was impressed with how Osborn didn't quit.

"Their coach kept encouraging them and their kids didn't hang their heads or start bickering," Thrower said. "They kept playing, took the ball to the basket, shot 3s, got to the line. They had several free throws."

Thrower, who played at Renaissance, graduating in 2005 before playing at Marquette, said she was never exposed to a situation like that during her playing days, or during her first two years as Cass Tech's coach. She said the league is unbalanced with the PSL having "teams with rich traditions like King, Renaissance and Pershing," with Cass Tech definitely in the mix as well.

And, it's been that way for a long time, with Pershing defeating Kettering 100-10 in a girls game five years ago, leading 37-1 after one quarter and 64-3 at halftime. King scored the game's first 26 points in a 60-6 win over Detroit Communication & Media Arts in a PSL quarterfinal that same season, leading 44-1 at halftime.

The PSL has suffered through controversy as well in past seasons, including a fight between the Finney and Kettering girls teams in 2011, which led to their seasons being canceled.

Four PSL girls basketball teams — Western, East English, Central and West Side —— have had their seasons end this season because players left the bench during an altercation "in keeping with the PSL's zero tolerance policy for fighting," according to Chuck Johnson, the media information director of the PSL.

Cass Tech, which lost to King in the PSL title game in 2013 and 2014, will play Pershing in a PSL quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Western.