Class B final: Godwin Heights outruns Henry Ford
East Lansing — Wyoming Godwin Heights made Detroit Henry Ford look like it was playing in quicksand Saturday night at Breslin Center.
At least it looked that way in the opening half of the Class B state championship game.
Godwin Heights scored in transition after getting steals from its press, got to loose balls which led to baskets and made 3-pointers, leading to a one-sided, 85-68 victory over Henry Ford (21-6) of the PSL.
Godwin Heights (26-1) led 25-12 after the opening quarter, forcing six turnovers while having Leon Redd and Delaney Blaylock combine for 14 points, each making two 3-pointers.
The Wolverines increased their lead to 50-29 with freshman guard Lamar Norman coming off the bench and playing like an all-stater.
"They shot the ball extremely well," Henry Ford coach Ken Flowers said. "I don't think I ever saw a high school team shoot like that before at Breslin, and they all shot it well.
"They played flawless. They played like state champions. They came out on fire. They did a good job of breaking the press, making the extra pass. Our transition defense wasn't that good tonight. We didn't find guys."
Norman scored 12 second-quarter points, making 5-of-7 shots, and both of his 3-point attempts. He opened the quarter with a 3-pointer for a 28-12 cushion, then took a charge on Henry Ford standout junior guard James Towns at the other end.
Norman scored a transition basket for a 32-13 lead, scored another basket in transition for a 41-19 lead, then made a driving layup in the half-court set before making a 3-pointer from the left corner as time expired prior to halftime.
"Being a freshman on this big stage, I mean Lamar's not afraid of the big moment," Godwin Heights coach Tyler Whittemore said. "He's a big-time player, he's very quick and he's improved greatly during the year. I know they wanted to press us so he was the guard that kind of got up the sideline to make sure they had to guard the entire court and Essa (Kellah) did a great job of throwing the diagonal passes out of our press break."
Whittemore also praised senior point guard Kellah for defending Towns.
"Essa set the tone defensively, guarded the other team's point guard (Towns)," Whittemore said. "What he (Towns) does is get his team in a lot of different spots in which they're successful with so for Essa to bump him off the spots and just set the tone for the entire defensive pressure was huge.
"Our defensive pressure is really what got us here and defense truly does win championships and I'm proud of my boys. Mike Williams is the toughest player I've been around. Delaney Blaylock does what Delaney does. He's one of the best players in the state, handles his business on the defensive end."
How well did it go for Godwin Heights in the first half? Well, the Wolverines didn't have their first turnover until 5:30 remained in the half. They shot a solid 54.8 percent from the field and that didn't come close to their 3-point shooting, 72.7 percent on 8-of-11 long-range shooting.
Henry Ford didn't quit, using its full-court pressure to try to get back in the game in the third quarter.
Henry Ford pulled within 54-40 with 4:40 left in the third on a transition basket by senior guard Antaun Carter, then had a chance to get closer following a steal by Jeremy Crawley, but he was called for an offensive foul while driving to the basket.
But Godwin Heights would have nothing to do with a Henry Ford comeback. Blaylock made a 3-pointer, Norman followed with another and Blaylock scored in transition to push the lead back to 64-44.
"One thing about my team, it's not going to quit," Flowers said. "I told the guys I know it hurts and they are crying their eyes out, but they took it (Henry Ford program) to a place it's never been before. We now have a foundation of good things to come."
Blaylock had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Norman scored 17 on 7-of-9 shooting. Redd and Williams each scored 13 with Williams also grabbing nine rebounds, and Richard Major scored 12.
Senior guard Josh Davis, the MVP of the PSL this season who is headed to Western Michigan, finished his career scoring 16 (7-of-19 shooting), but Towns (16 points, six assists, six turnovers) will return, as do starters 6-5 junior forward Antwan Johnson and 6-4 junior forward Alston Hunter.
"He's a great character kid," Flowers said of Davis. "He's been our catalyst for a while now and he'll surely be missed."
Said Davis: "It took a whole lot of work and dedication to get here. We all pushed each other."