Detroit — Tiaira Earnest made sure Detroit Mumford got off to a fast start Thursday evening in a Detroit Public School League semifinal against Detroit East English Village, making two 3-pointers in the opening minute to jump out to a 10-0 lead to set the tempo.
Earnest, a sophomore guard, scored 16 points and made four 3s to help Mumford put on a dominating performance in a 68-45 rout to earn a trip to the PSL title game on Feb. 18 at Calihan Hall.
Mumford will face defending champion Detroit King (17-1), a 56-47 semifinal winner over Detroit Renaissance.
“It was so important to get off to the 10-0 start because we wanted to make our coach proud and get to Calihan to play for the PSL championship,” Earnest said. “I started out rusty at the beginning of the season with my threes so it felt so good to make them today.”
And, Mumford (12-5) got things done with its full-court pressure, making it tough for East English to get the ball past midcourt to set up its offense.
“We want to press teams up and down the court, that’s what gets us motivated to win every game, just pressing, playing hard defense,” Earnest said.
And, yes, Mumford coach Kareem Hogan was proud of his team’s effort.
“They came out focused and Tiaira came out shooting the ball really well and when we make shots and get our defense set, that’s the strength of our team,” Mumford coach Kareem Hogan said. “I think the last time we got in the finals was back in the 70s. I know we haven’t got there since I’ve been here and that’s been 12 years. It’s very exciting. I’m overwhelmed right now.”
Mumford led 23-12 after one, 46-25 at halftime and 51-31 after three. Chasidey Willis scored 12 and 6-foot-3 Zamaria Polk had 11 for Mumford.
Jayla Smith scored 23 for East English (12-5).
King returns to title game
Senior guard Alicia Norman scored 23 to help King reach Calihan Hall for the right to defend its title.
Norman and guards Del’Janae Williams and Tia Tedford got things done at the defensive end in King’s halfcourt trap to set the tempo.
King forced a handful of turnovers in the opening minutes, highlighted by Mariah Mitchell taking three charges, and Norman scored six points to help King take a 17-4 first-quarter lead.
“We knew they were a good team so we had to work hard and get off to a big lead,” Norman said. “We’re kind of a small team so we like to pressure and make their ball-handlers make quick decisions.”
King led 31-22 at halftime and 41-32 after three. Renaissance pulled to within 53-47 on Nnenna Nnaji’s baseline jumper with 1:20 left, but that would be as close as it would get the rest of the way.
Nina Reynolds scored 17 for Renaissance (14-3).
King coach William Winfield knows there is room for improvement.
“We need to do a better job of sharing the ball,” Winfield said. “We’re going to have to practice, practice and practice on how to share the basketball. We usually make six threes a game and we didn’t make one tonight. We just have to go back to working on our game.”
More girls basketball
Detroit Country Day 75, Grosse Pointe South 39: Destiny Pitts scored 24, Kaela Webb 15, Tylar Bennett 11 and Maxine Moore 10 for Country Day (15-0). Sayanna Roy had 11 for South.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 55, Detroit Edison Academy 41: Rozhane Wells scored 13 and Adrienne Anderson 11 for Arbor Prep (17-0). Rickea Jackson scored 15 and Gabrielle Elliott 14 for Edison (15-3).
Clarkston 79, Troy Athens 26: Dylan Alderson scored 21 and Foster Loyer 20 for Clarkston (15-0). Brendt Stephens scored nine for Athens (6-8).
Farmington 54, Lake Orion 49: Jay Kirby scored 17, Jordan Graham 12 and Ray Bryant 10 for Farmington (11-4). Steven Zmijewski scored 17 and Jamie Lewis 14 for Lake Orion (4-8).
Oak Park 56, Rochester Adams 48: Robert Zanders had 23 points, Bobby Thompson Jr. had 11 points and 11 assists and Roger Gillison scored 10 for Oak Park (8-7). Austin Ursey scored 17 for Adams (0-14).
West Bloomfield 64, Troy 61: Kevin McAdoo scored 34 and Tre Harvey 18 for West Bloomfield (10-5). Jason Dietz scored 27 and Danny Sully 10 for Troy (10-4).
Detroit News staff contributed