Livonia Churchill found itself in a deep hole in Monday’s Kensington Lakes Activities Association tournament semifinal against undefeated Northville. Down 15-2 early on, the writing appeared to be on the wall.
Then, something clicked.
Churchill (12-6) clawed its way back, and Myron Burnette’s layup with 25 seconds remaining proved to be just enough for the underdogs to hang on for a 51-48 victory.
The win sends Churchill to the KLAA final on Saturday, where it will come up against another undefeated foe in Canton, which in the last meeting between the two teams escaped with a six-point, double-overtime win.
Churchill coach Jim Solak credited hard-nosed defense for getting his team back into the game, and it was that defense that sealed the deal when Northville (17-1) was able to get off only desparation looks from beyond the arc in the game’s final moments.
“They came out loose and fast, and we came out tight,” Solak said. “We just had to settle down and then we really got after it defensively.”
Jon Hovermale led the way for Churchill with 16 points, while Joan Andoni netted 14. Jeron Hampton hit two clutch free throws with 35 seconds left before Northville’s Kevin Morrisey got two of his own to cut the lead back to one at 49-48.
Morrisey and Justin Gibbons finished with 12 points apiece to pace Northville.
Canton 50, Salem 39: In the second semifinal of the KLAA tournament, Logan Ryan scored 12 and D.Artis White 10 for Canton (18-0), which will host Livonia Churchill in Saturday’s final. Cameron Grace had 13 for Salem (11-7).
Detroit Osborn 76, West Bloomfield 69: Kenneth Holloway scored 29 and Devin Dubois 13 for Osborn (9-9). Kevin McAdoo had 21 points for West Bloomfield (12-3).
Pinckney 52, Livonia Franklin 35: Colton Paulicheck scored 15 for Pinckney (7-11). Mark Mettie had 17 points for Franklin (2-16).
Redford Thurston 77, Livonia Clarenceville 46: Caebryn Crabtree scored 18 and Justin Cole added 13 for Thurston (10-8). Mike Kubiak had 15 points for Clarenceville.
Rochester Adams 76, Southfield 66: Spencer Littleson scored 36 and Joey Ziniti 27 for Adams (13-4, 4-4 OAA Red). Michael Flowers had 30 for Southfield (8-9, 4-4).
Walled Lake Northern 52, Plymouth 46: Ethan Ancick and Andy Millikan scored 12 each, and Troy Lattimore had 10 for Northern (7-11). Brian Davis scored 20 for Plymouth (7-11).
Wayne Memorial 49, Brighton 48: Keion Epps had 17 points and 16 rebounds, Terrance Williams scored 14 and Trayvon Woods 10 for Wayne Memorial (6-12).
Detroit Edison Public School Academy 49, Pontiac 43: Rickea Jackson had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Melissa Langford added 10 points for Edison (11-7). Infinnatie Rowe had 11 points for Pontiac.
Fraser 7, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 4: Frank Russell and Lincoln Gray each scored twice for Fraser. Tyler Trammel had two goals and T.J. Hatch had 52 saves for Foley.
Girls basketball scores
Grosse Ile 53, Trenton 44
Sterling Heights Parkway Christian 54, Southfield Christian 15
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer; News staff contributed