Friday's basketball roundup: Central prevails in wild finish

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Walled Lake — Things weren't looking good for Walled Lake Central during the final minute of its Class A district championship game Friday night on its own floor against rival Walled Lake Western.

Western had just taken a 39-38 lead with 20 seconds left on Marcus Bailey's putback and then Delano Smith stole the ball from Central junior standout guard Walter Kelser on the inbounds pass.

However, Smith gave Central life when he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw situation, then fouled Calvin Dado after the miss.

Dado made a free throw to pull Central even with 15 seconds left, starting an even wilder finish … with Kelser stealing the ball from Demond Young, then getting fouled with 7.7 seconds left.

Kelser made his first free throw to give Central the lead, but missed the second and Bailey went end-to-end before missing a driving layup as time expired, resulting in Central's 40-39 victory.

It was the fourth meeting between the teams this season with Central (19-4) handing Western (21-2) its lone losses. Western won the last game, 73-66 Feb. 28 in the KLAA Lakes title game, overcoming a 41-point night from Kelser who made 25-of-27 free throws.

Kelser wasn't close to duplicating that performance in the district title game, but he would certainly trade the big game for a big play at the end leading to a wild celebration.

"It was a scary game, but it was fun and I like playing in games like that, our whole team does and we came away with it (win)," Kelser said. "He (Demond Young) was dribbling the ball a little wild and I just stayed there and I just waited for the ball to fall in my lap and I got it. I was lucky to come away with a foul and hit the shot (free throw)."

Kelser struggled to finish at the rim, making 4-of-15 shots. He scored 14 points and made big plays down the stretch, including a dribble-drive pass in the corner to Anton Lucaj for a 3-pointer and a 38-35 lead with 2:07 left.

In the end, it was Central's defense which was the difference, that and Western's inability to make free throws.

Central took five charges during the second half. Western made just 5-of-19 free throws, 3-of-14 during the final two quarters.

"Coach (Chuck Spolsky) said don't go for the blocks, just take charges because they like to put their shoulders down and that's what they did," said Kelser, who took two charges. "We just sat there and took charges, sacrificed our bodies for our team."

Junior center Adetokunbo Ogundeji took a charge in the third quarter and was a force rebounding on the offensive end in the second quarter, scoring six points to bring Central back from a 18-12 deficit, the game's largest lead.

Dado blocked two shots during the third quarter, then took a charge to start the fourth, also coming through with the free throw to knot the game at 39-39 in the final seconds.

Spolsky praised Central's defense, pointing to senior guard Nate Collins taking a charge on Bailey, a physical force with 2:40 left and the game tied at 35-35.

"That was a man play by Nate Collins right there," Spolsky pointed out. "I don't know a lot of people in this gym that would have done what Nate Collins did, taking that charge."

And, on Bailey's last play, the coast-to-coast rush, Spolsky said: "I thought it went in, but we deserved it. We earned it, you can't say we didn't earn this district."

Bailey finished with 14 points, making 6-of-8 shots, but missing 6-of-8 free throws.

Lucaj scored 11 for Central, making two three-pointers. Ogundeji had six points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:46 left.

Class A

Ann Arbor Huron 73, Dexter 50: Xavier Cochran had 21 points for Huron (20-2). Adam Sikorski scored 14 for Dexter (17-5).

Auburn Hills Avondale 61, Troy Athens 58: Chris Barton had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Jalen Latham had 13 points and seven rebounds for Avondale (20-3). Corbin Vrij had 16 points and eight rebounds, Devon Terry had 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and John Van Hoef had 10 points and 17 rebounds for Athens (13-9).

Dearborn Fordson 48, Lincoln Park 45: Muhammed Zahr had 20 points for Fordson (17-6). Christian Walker scored 11 and Derek Field had 10 for Lincoln Park (14-9).

Detroit East English 67, Detroit Southeastern 52: Kamari Newman had 17 points and Cedric Lattimore 10 and 12 rebounds for East English (18-4). Anthony Randall scored 20 for Southeastern (7-15).

Macomb Dakota 95, Port Huron 40: Charles Penn had 18 points, Jermaine Jackson Jr. scored 16 and Tariiq Jones had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Dakota (20-2). Bobby Wright scored nine for Port Huron (16-7).

North Farmington 57, Birmingham Brother Rice 52: Anthony Qusawa had 23 points, Jeron Rogers had 16, and Alex Darden scored 12 for North Farmington (19-3). Kevin Hayes scored 15 for Brother Rice (15-7).

Plymouth 47, Northville 46: Randall Aikins and Brent Davis had 14 points and Josh Reynolds 11 for Plymouth (16-6). Nate Kellun scored 16 and David Morrissey 13 for Northville (14-8).

Southgate Anderson 38, Gibraltar Carlson 32: Dejon Matthews had 20 points for Anderson (12-11). Jared Atkinson and Thaddeus Enwerejobi scored 11 for Carlson (14-9).

Class B

Detroit Collegiate Prep-Northwestern 62, Ferndale 56 (OT): Ketquan Gatewood scored 22 points and Darwin Weis added21 for Northwestern (9-9). Ronald Jenkins scored 21 for Ferndale (7-15).

Detroit Consortium 57, Detroit University Prep 52: Mikel Tyson had 23 points and Larry Williams 12 for Consortium (16-5). Colyn Waldron and Trmaine Williams scored 17 for University Prep (13-9).

Detroit Henry Ford 56, Detroit Community 53: Joshua Davis had 22 points and James Towns 20 for Henry Ford (17-5). DeMario Mack scored 17 and Jemario Jackson 12 for Community (11-5).

Detroit Osborn 70, Detroit Denby 41: Joseph Thomas had 19 points and Dajon Watson added 15 for Osborn (13-8). Mario Hull scored 13 for Denby (10-10).

New Haven 46, Marysville 39: D'monta Harris had 10 points for New Haven (23-0). Brady Beezon scored 14 for Marysville (18-5)

River Rouge 68, Dearborn Divine Child 45: Lamonta Stone II had 18 points and six assists to lead , Jalen Gibson had 15 points, and Tracy Freeman had 10 points for River Rouge (18-5). Joseph Paciero scored 17 for Divine Child (8-13).

Class C

Detroit Edison Public School Academy 96, Grosse Pointe University Liggett 59: Marcus Johnson had 32 points, David DeJulius 10 and Edward Carter eight for DEPSA (16-5). DeJulius added 10 assists. Jaren English scored 26 and Spencer Ewing 21 for Liggett (12-8).

Melvindale ABT 57, Riverview Gabriel Richard 42: Deontez Ritchie had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Lavaill Russell 14 points, 10 assists for ABT (11-9). Tyler Blkzak scored 16 for Gabriel Richard (14-7).

Southfield Christian 87, Royal Oak Shrine 46: Richard Feagin had 20 points and Marlo Brown contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds, Kameron Garner 14 and 10 rebounds and Brock Washington 12 for Southfield Christian (21-3).

Class D

Allen Park Inter-city Baptist 78, Inkster Peterson Warren Academy 46: Luke Barber had 27 points, Garrett Kraatz 18 and Brady Fressel 10 for Intercity Baptist (19-4). Donovan Baxter scored 18 and Eric Walker 11 for Petersen Warren (11-6).

Birmingham Roeper 51, Detroit Winans Academy 39: Jake Flynn scored 17 points and David Gardner 14 for Roeper (4-18). Chris Williams scored 19 for Winans (7-10).


Detroit News staff contributed.