Detroit Henry Ford makes basketball history

James Hawkins
Special to The Detroit News

Marysville — Throughout Detroit Henry Ford's run in the state playoffs, coach Ken Flowers has received letters, emails and all sorts of support from alumni dating back to 1970.

This week, Flowers may be flooded with mail after Henry Ford ended New Haven's bid for a perfect season by winning its first Class B boys basketball quarterfinal Tuesday, 61-55, in front of a standing-room only crowd in down-to-the-wire fashion

Henry Ford (20-5) moves on to Breslin Center for the first time in program history to play Cadillac, a 59-50 winner over Essexville Garber, in Friday's 7:50 p.m. semifinal.

"Coming from their freshman year when we were 6-15 to now, these guys have grown. This is one group of kids who have gotten better each year, especially Josh Davis," Flowers said. "I talked to (Detroit Pistons announcer) Greg Kelser. He called me and he's an alumni of Henry Ford. I told him if we get to Breslin, you got to do our game. He said, 'Get there and I'll do it.'

"It feels good. All the alumni came out. It's big for the community and school. People just love to see Henry Ford prevail like this."

After a tight-knit first half where neither team could get much separation, Henry Ford closed out the third quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 40-37 lead into the fourth quarter.

New Haven's Marquis Perkins nailed a 3-pointer at the 7:26 mark to knot it at 40-40, and the two teams exchanged baskets until Henry Ford went on a 6-0 spurt on a pair of free throws by Davis, a steal and layup by Jeremy Crawley and two more free throws by James Towns to go up 56-50 with 2:28 remaining.

But New Haven battled back, making it a one-possession game on John Galloway's two free throws and Dmonta Harris' 3-pointer from the wing to make it 57-55 with 1:39 left.

Then after a Henry Ford turnover, New Haven had the ball with under 30 seconds remaining and the chance to go for the tie or win. But Harris' runner in the lane bounced off the rim, Davis came down with the rebound and calmly sank both free throws to push it to 59-55 with 19 seconds left.

"I was just poised. Those were big free throws but I'm ready for situations like that and I'm able to knock them down," said Davis, who will play at Western Michigan next year. "It's so huge (to reach the the semifinals) especially for it being my last year."

New Haven threw up a desperation 3-pointer on its final possession, and Alston Hunter sealed it with a fast-break layup with five seconds remaining.

"It was a tough game. Some bounces didn't go our way, we missed some shots, gave up some offensive putbacks and gave up some wide-open shots, things we knew we couldn't do," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said.

"We just had small breakdowns and they took advantage of those and good teams that's what they do. They took advantage of all our mishaps and they made us pay for it. I told our kids we didn't lose, we just ran out of time."

Harris recorded a game-high 21 points and Austin Sherrell added 12 for New Haven (25-1).

Davis finished with 20 points and was 10-of-14 from the free-throw line, including a perfect 6-of-6 in the final four minutes, to lead Henry Ford. Towns chipped in with 14 points and Jamal Edwards scored 10.

James Hawkins is a freelance writer