Monday's roundup: Fast start helps Western advance
Sterling Heights — Brailen Neely got PSL champion and unbeaten Detroit Western off to a good start, then made plays down the stretch to lead the Cowboys to a 65-55 Class A regional semifinal victory over Detroit East English Monday.
Neely, a 5-foot-11 junior point guard, scored seven in the opening quarter to help Western take a 15-9 lead. He finished with 22, making a three-point play after East English cut the deficit to 50-46 with 6 minutes 20 seconds remaining, then made a 3-pointer to give Western its largest lead at 59-48 with four minutes left.
Neely's backcourt mate, senior Josh McFolley scored 19, including 11 in the third quarter.
"In the first half we were playing their game, which is pretty much fast pace, so the second half Coach (Derrick McDowell) talked to us and told us to slow it down and play our game," Neely said. "(McFolley) a great player and he came through in the second half just like we expected him to do and in order for us to win and proceed through this state tournament he has to keep it up, both of us do."
The victory completed the three-game series sweep for Western (22-0) over its PSL rival, with East English (18-5) also pushing Western to the limit in the first meeting, down 74-71 with a minute left before falling 78-71 on Jan. 23.
Western plays Warren De La Salle on Wednesday night for the regional title.
Western led 29-28 at halftime and 50-41 after three quarters. Still, East English had one more run during the fourth quarter with junior guard Karmari Newman (22 points, 5-for-11 shooting, 11-for-12 free throws) making five free throws, then a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 60-55 with 1:50 remaining.
After a stop, East English had the ball to make it a one possession game, but Chris Rollins missed on a driving layup and McFolley scored in transition, followed by a transition basket by Neely to put the game away.
"In the second half my teammates told me to stay aggressive like always, whenever I struggle, and Brailen always keeps me in the game as a point guard and he's a very good leader and we follow him," McFolley said. "This is his (Neely's) team so we just follow his lead."
Neely said Western's players look to Detroit-bound McFolley and 6-foot-8 Gerald Blackshear — both transfers from Mt. Clemens — to keep them calm since they went through a state quarterfinal run with Mt. Clemens last year.
"We got to the quarterfinals (with Mt. Clemens) last year so I bring a lot of experience, that's what I want to do, put pressure on our guards during practice every day and that's how we got here and that's how we're going to continue to win," McFolley said.
McFolley praised 6-foot-3 junior Karim Murray for putting pressure on Newman during the fourth quarter.
"He was kind of killing us in the first half, really in the second half," McFolley said of Newman, who scored 10 of his points in the second quarter to keep his team close. "In the fourth quarter we made the changes to put Karim (Murray) on him, went to a box (and one) and put Karim on the man to slow him down a bit."
Murray scored nine and Blackshear had six points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
Jaylin McFadden, a 6-4 junior, had 12 points for East English, but physical 6-5 junior Cedrick Lattimore was limited to three points while having his minutes limited because of foul trouble.
More Class A
Clarkston 74, Auburn Hills Avondale 51: Foster Loyer had 30 points for Clarkston (23-0). Chris Barton scored 23 for Avondale (20-4).
Macomb Dakota 66, Utica Eisenhower 48: John Hall, Jermaine Jackson Jr. and Steven Marshall had 15 points apiece for Dakota (21-2). Justin Greason finished with 21 points and Jake Bradshear added 10 for Eisenhower (18-6).
Warren De La Salle 58, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 50: Junior guard Kevin McKay scored 18 and 6-foot-6 senior Josh Winowiecki added 15 for De La Salle (15-9). Junior Steven Lloyd scored 15 and senior Sean Bunting had 14 for Chippewa Valley (19-5).
Detroit Consortium 67, River Rouge 60: Luster Johnson had 24 points and C.J. Figueroa 18 for Consortium (17-6). Jalen Gibson scored 18 for River Rouge (17-6).
Detroit Osborn 62, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 55: Christian Littlejohn finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds and Joseph Thomas added 11 points for Osborn (14-8). Tariq Dickerson scored 19 for Notre Dame Prep (15-7).
Detroit Henry Ford 78, Detroit Collegiate Prep-Northwestern 56: Austin Hunter had 20 points, Josh Davis 14 and Antoine Johnson and Jamal Edwards 10 for Henry Ford (18-5). Kyland Ship scored 26 for Northwestern (9-10).
New Haven 61, Yale 39: D'Monta Harris scored 22 with 13 rebounds, Austin Sherrell scored 13 and Marquis Perkins had 10 points and 10 assists for New Haven (24-0). Josh McClelland and Austen Gentner each had 12 points for Yale (21-3).
Detroit Edison 72, Melvindale ABT 29: Marcus Johnson had 21 points, Jamal Kees had 16 points and seven steals, David DeJulius had 12 points and 11 assists, and William Weems had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Edison (17-5).
Southfield Christian 65, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 60: Marlo Brown had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Richard Feagin added 18 points, and Kam Gardner provided 13 points and 10 rebounds for Southfield Christian (22-3).
Allen Park Inter-City Baptist 59, Adrian Lenawee Christian 52: Luke Barber had 24 points and Garrett Kraatz 14 for Inter-city Baptist (20-4). Maxwell scored 21 and Nick Mewborn 11 for Lenawee Christian (12-12).
News staff contributed.