Detroit — Cassius Winston and U-D Jesuit took a step closer to reaching their goal of winning a state title Tuesday night, defeating Ypsilanti Community, 62-47, in the Class A quarterfinals at Calihan Hall.
Winston, named Mr. Basketball on Monday, was the catalyst for No. 1 U-D (26-0) during a pivotal 14-0 run to close the first half and open a 31-16 cushion.
After Ypsilanti 6-foot-5 senior forward Michael Bruce scored off a putback to cut the deficit to 17-16 with 5 minutes 10 seconds left in the second quarter, Winston consistently attacked the basket, scoring on three driving layups sandwiched between a Scott Nelson free throw for a 24-16 lead with 2:30 left.
Sophomore guard Elijah Collins scored U-D’s final seven points, starting with a 3-pointer off a pass from Winston and finishing with a driving layup.
“We just started getting the intensity going, we’ve got to start learning how to play the whole game, but that was one of those spurts we needed,” said Winston, a point guard bound for Michigan State. “That’s what I do best, get to the basket and get layups. To win this championship, it’s going to be a team effort so we have to get everybody involved so that was good to see him (Collins) do that.”
Winston scored 25 (10-of-14 shooting), and Collins 18 (four 3-pointers).
Ypsilanti (22-2) had trouble shooting from 3-point range, especially the final five minutes of the second quarter. Mr. Basketball candidate Corey Allen missed two of his team’s three 3-point attempts.
“We took a couple of bad shots on our possessions,” Ypsilanti coach Steve Brooks said. “You have to get a lead on these guys. It’s hard to play these guys from behind and we had a couple of bad possessions where we forced some shots.”
Ypsilanti went scoreless for an eight-minute stretch spanning the first and second halves before Allen scored on a 2-on-1 break with 5:15 left in the third quarter to make the deficit 35-18.
Allen, a 6-3 guard headed for Detroit, scored 27, 13 in the final quarter. He attacked U-D’s 6-9 juniors Greg Eboigbodin and Ike Eke several times in the fourth, making the team’s lone 3-pointer with 3:30 left to make it 52-41.
He also made a driving layup to get Ypsilanti as close as it would would get, 54-45.
“We had a chance, had seven steals there in the third quarter, but turned them into just four points and we needed more,” Brooks said.
Winston put the exclamation point on the victory with an alley-oop pass to Eboigbodin with 1:20 left for a 60-47 lead.
“It’s a great feeling, and we have a lot of unfinished business we have to take care,” Winston said of Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal against Macomb Dakota. It is the third straight year U-D has reached the semifinals, losing the past two seasons.