Winston's winner sends U-D Jesuit to state semifinals
Detroit — Cassius Winston was playing at the top of his game all night in the Class A state quarterfinal showdown with unbeaten Clarkston on Tuesday night at Calihan Hall, so it should come to no surprise that he led Jesuit to a 56-54 victory on a layup as time expired.
Winston, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard recruited by Michigan State and other national powers, scored 34, taking a back-door cut pass from Obi Duru and making a layup over the extended arm of Jonah Newblatt for the deciding bucket before a crowd of more than 6,500, including Michigan State coach Tom Izzo sitting on press row.
Jesuit (22-3) will make its second straight trip to the Breslin Center for the state semifinals, facing the Ypsilanti-Detroit Western winner Friday afternoon. The Cubs lost to Bloomfield Hills in a semifinal last year.
"I was supposed to get the ball on top, but they double-teamed me so I trusted my teammate to get the ball back to me on a cut to the basket," said Winston, who made 12-of-23 shots from the field and all nine of his free throw attempts. "We came out with a lot of intensity. Everybody was talking about this game all week so we just came out and decided to play our game."
While 6-0 freshman point guard Foster Loyer has been playing well all season for Clarkston (24-1), Jesuit showed it had an outstanding freshman as well in 5-11 Elijah Collins, who came off the bench and turned the game around for the Cubs in the second quarter.
Collins played nearly half the game and shut down Loyer while in the game. Loyer was limited to 10 points, making 2-of-9 shots from the floor.
When Loyer did get past Collins, he had to contend with 6-foot-9 Ikechukwu Eke or 6-9 Greg Eboigbodin.
"They say that Foster is the best freshman player in the state, but we have something otherwise to say with Elijah," said Winston, who also had eight assists. "We talked to him all week, told him he's a good player and he did a great job tonight."
Collins scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting while giving Loyer little room to work.
Collins made a pair of 3-pointers and made a great defensive play during a pivotal 11-2 run to turn a 19-16 deficit into a 27-21 lead.
First, Collins made a 3-pointer from the left corner to pull the Cubs even with Winston following with another long-range shot to give them a 22-19 lead. Collins added another 3 from the right corner opened up the six-point cushion.
Collins also stripped Loyer of the ball near midcourt, then flipped it to Winston who was fouled in transition. He made two free throws for a 24-19 lead.
"I heard a lot about Foster and they said he was going to come out and give us a show," Collins said. "My coach (Pat Donnelly) told me he's a freshman and I'm a freshman so if I come out and outplay him we'll see who the better freshman is at the end of the day."
Of his three-point shooting, Collins said, "It's all about confidence. Usually, I'm not really a good shooter, but when you come out with a lot of confidence you play really well."
Well, it's obvious Collins played with confidence, as did Winston, and the same could be said about Clarkston senior guard Andrew Myers and 6-5 junior guard Tabin Throgmorton (13 points, three 3-pointers).
Myers scored 27, making 10-of-19 shots, including 6-of-9 3-pointers. He scored 11 of his points during the fourth quarter, rallying Clarkston back from a 48-41 deficit.
Myers scored eight during a 10-2 run to start the fourth, making a 3-pointer, a short jumper off a steal, then a three-point play (basket and free throw) to give Clarkston a 51-50 lead with five minutes left.
Clarkston picked the wrong time to go cold, missing seven straight shots before Myers pulled the Wolves even at 54 with 14 seconds left, setting up Winston's heroics.