Detroit — Jaylin McFadden made a statement in the early minutes of the Detroit Public School League basketball championship game at Calihan Hall Friday night when he swatted away an inside shot by Chandler Turner, then another on a drive by Richard Talley.
It would be tough for Renaissance to score inside against McFadden and East English Village Prep.
And, it would be difficult to even get the ball past half court against East English’s full-court pressure.
East English put on its best first half of the season to take a 45-28 halftime lead and went on to earn its first PSL title with a dominating 86-62 victory. Renaissance, which lost by a single point to Western in last year’s title game, never came close in this one.
“This is what we’ve been working for all season and we knew we had to come out hard and fight,” said McFadden, who made it possible for East English to reach the title game with his steal and score in the final seconds in a 71-70 semifinal win over Detroit Northwestern. “Our coach (Juan Rickman) told us that defense wins championship games and offense wins games. We knew this was a championship game, so we knew we had to step up big on defense.
“There were many times this season where you could see Ced (6-foot-5, 240-pound Cedrick Lattimore) and I go for blocks and tonight we knew we had to go for everything; couldn’t let them get anything easy.”
McFadden, a 6-4 forward who will play at Ferris State next year, scored 20, making 10-of-14 shots from the field. He had eight points and two blocks in the first quarter to set the tempo.
George Mason-bound guard Kamari Newman scored 24 to lead East English (16-3). Junior Greg Elliott, who has offers from Southern Mississippi and Washington State, added 17.
East English definitely got it done at the defensive end to spark a 21-5 run during the final five minutes of the half — with Lattimore leading the way.
First, he trapped 6-foot-7, 280-pound Renaissance center A.J. Jackson, forcing him into a travel, and East English took advantage when Newman converted on a pair of free throws for a 26-23 lead. Then Lattimore blocked Jackson’s shot and ran the court to score for a 28-23 lead.
It didn’t end there as McFadden scored a transition basket off a Nate Boleware steal for a 30-23 cushion, followed by a dunk by Elliott after East English forced another turnover with its press.
“We came out and played at our pace, which is to run fast and press them the whole game,” said Lattimore, who will be teammates with Jackson on Iowa’s football team this fall.
“We work so hard in practice on our press and lived for moments like this, getting steals and laying it up.”
Rickman had reason to be thrilled, walking away with the ultimate trophy.
“We’ve been doing it all year. That’s what we work on, making (the other team) feel uncomfortable,” Rickman said. “We try to make it so the coaches can’t coach their team. We’re comfortable playing like that.”
Elliott scored nine during the pivotal second quarter, including a 3-pointer from the right corner with 30 seconds left for a 43-26 lead.
Senior guard Lamar Neely also helped, coming off the bench to make a pair of 3-pointers during a 13-2 run over the final 21/2 minutes of the half.
East English shot nearly 60 percent (27-of-46) through three quarters to open up a 69-44 cushion. They made eight 3-pointers for the game.
Still, it was the press that was the difference. Renaissance coach Vito Jordan called a timeout to settle his team down after McFadden’s transition basket, but then East English got a steal off the press, leading to Elliott’s dunk for a 32-23 advantage seconds later.
Talley finished with 20 points and Turner scored 19 for Renaissance (15-3).