Before Wednesday, Warren Mott’s boys basketball team was off to a rough start, losing its first three games.
Wednesday afternoon, Mott won its first, 63-55 in overtime, over Brownstown Woodhaven in the consolation game of the Salem Holiday Tournament.
It may have helped that Mott got a pregame speech from a notable alumni: Michigan State redshirt freshman foward Kenny Goins, who graduated from Mott in 2014.
“Maybe that lit a fire under their butts,” Mott coach Jeff Olind said.
Junior guard/forward Tyler Gillery led Mott (1-3) with 15 points. Senior guard D’Laino Paige added 14 and senior point guard Julian Dixon posted a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds).
Dixon was named to the all-tourney team.
“He was great out there,” Olind said.
Olind said the first three losses — two of which saw Mott surrender double-digit leads — were equal parts close and disappointing. Wednesday’s win, he said, put some wind back in the team’s sails.
“We needed this one before the break,” Olind said. “We found different ways to turn the ball over or to miss a defensive assignment (in the first three games). We didn’t do that today.”
No team led by more than single digits throughout the contest.
“That’s really how close it was the entire game,” Olind said.
In overtime, Mott’s lead was only as high as four points. With stops on Woodhaven’s first three possessions, Mott’s defense was crucial.
“In overtime, the defense took over,” Olind said.
Junior guard Javin Lucas was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line in overtime, sealing the win for Mott.
Woodhaven is 1-4.
More boys basketball
U-D Jesuit 63, Toledo St. John’s 57: Cassius Winston had 32 points and Greg Eboigbodin 15 for U-D (6-0).
Al Willman is a freelance writer