Detroit — Detroit King doesn’t get pushed around very often, but an early-season loss to Detroit Renaissance added fuel to the fire as the four-time defending Public School League girls basketball tournament champion escaped with a thrilling 68-66 victory in Friday’s PSL final at Calihan Hall.
With 5.4 seconds remaining, Alicia Norman made the second of two free throws for King. Renaissance’s Siyeh Frazier took the inbounds pass and sprinted the length of the court before her contested layup came off the rim as time expired.
“I had never lost a regular-season (PSL) game (before),” King senior Micaela Kelly said as she held the championship trophy. “I’d rather take this one than that one.”
Frazier did all she could to bring Renaissance (14-4) its first league championship since 2011, finishing with 37 points.
Norman had missed two free throws, and Kelly earned her teammates another chance with an offensive rebound. She found Tia Tedford, who was fouled and split a pair with 16 seconds remaining to seemingly ice the game for King at 67-63.
That’s when Frazier struck, making a pull-up 3-pointer to cut the lead to one point with six seconds left.
“She’s going to turn a lot of heads at the next level,” Renaissance coach Kiwan Ward said of her senior, who’s committed to Penn State. “She’s an outstanding player. There’s nothing more you can say.”
Brittany Hill was the only other Renaissance player in double digits, finishing with 10 points.
King (16-1) used a more balanced offensive attack with Tedford (17 points), Norman (13) and Kelly (12).
Jordan Lewis was a force inside, grabbing 12 rebounds and scoring nine.
“The kids that come through this program come in with a winning attitude,” King coach William Winfield said when asked about a fifth straight conference title. “If we get those type of kids, we know we’ll be all right.”
The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between Frazier (13 points) and Tedford (11 points). But it was King’s balance that gave it a 26-17 lead at the end of the first. Frazier kept on the attack as King cooled off in the second, finishing with 22 in the first half and pulling her team within two at 36-34 at halftime.
Renaissance took its first lead with 4:49 to play in the third quarter, but King continued to answer and never trailed in the fourth.
When Renaissance tied the game 59-59 with 2:12 remaining, Norman made two free throws before grabbing a rebound and finding Kelly for a wide-open layup.
“We just wanted it more,” Tedford said. “After we lost to them, we just wanted to come out here and show what he had.”
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer