Saturday’s boys basketball: Cass Tech wins PSL title

Al Willman
The Detroit News
Detroit Cass Tech basketball guard Leonard Silas (3) scores against Detroit King during the first quarter.

Detroit — Probably the most prominent rivalry in the Detroit Public School League is between Cass Tech and King, and that one only for football.

The schools’ basketball rivalry hasn’t been top of mind. Before Saturday’s boys championship game at Calihan Hall, Cass Tech had not won a PSL title since 1998.

That changed when Cass Tech knocked off King, 55-47, to win the city championship.

“It means more because they’ve been a nemesis,” said Cass Tech coach Steve Hall, a 1998 graduate of the school. “They knocked us out of the state tournament last year. I don’t want to overvalue a city championship when you still have a state tournament, but we haven’t done it in 20 years.”

Michael Green had 14 points to lead Cass Tech (16-3). Leonard Silas added 12.

“He’s been a kid that was talented for a long time,” Hall said of the 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior guard. “He’s really bought in. He’s a leader of the team and once he bought in to a lot of things we were doing, a lot of things fell into place.

“We won two city championships in cross country, and he was an All-City cross-country runner (and) an honors student. That’s not what he was when I got here. I’m so proud of him.”

Silas made his presence known early. On Cass Tech’s second possession, he made a 3-pointer. Then two possessions later, he got a steal and a fastbreak layup, putting his team up 7-3 with 5:30 left in the first.

Saturday's girls basketball: King claims 6th straight PSL title

Cass Tech led 18-10 after one quarter.

A layup from Silas as time expired in the first half put Cass Tech ahead 31-21.

“I was feeling great,” he said. “It feels good, but it feels even better when my teammates get involved.”

Foul trouble was an issue for both teams early in the second half.

Cass Tech had two players with three fouls (Green and Jalen Tobias) and one with four (Matthew Richmond) midway through the quarter. King had a pair (Antonio Marshall and Drevon Taylor) with three.

“We felt all along that depth was one of our biggest attributes,” Hall said. “So the fact that we got in foul trouble, it was the next man up. Some other guys came in and got minutes. That’s kind of been our story, different people on different nights.”

Marshall’s 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in the third quarter cut Cass Tech’s lead to 40-36.

In basketball’s chapter of the rivalry between these teams, which sometimes play each other two or three times a season, the difference from one year to the next can be extreme.

Last season, King was 3-0 against Cass Tech. Two seasons before, Cass Tech earned the three-game sweep over King. Saturday’s matchup, as with the 2014-15, 2011-12 and 2009-10 seasons, was the only meeting of the season.

In 2010-11 and 2012-13, Cass Tech and King did not play each other at all.

Kemon Bassett scored 13, Treveon Orr 11 and Antonio Marshall 10 for King (12-6).

East English’s Elliott named PSL’s Mr. Basketball

Detroit East English senior forward Gregory Elliott was named the league’s Mr. Basketball.

The 6-foot-3 senior said he felt he was in contention for the award after his 48-point performance in an 82-80 win in the PSL quarterfinals against Detroit Pershing on Feb. 10.

“I knew I had a real good chance to get it,” Elliott said. “I just kept going to see what happened.”

He said the season is far from over and that he’d try to use the award as a springboard for a state title.

“It’s real motivating,” Elliott said. “I came out here and set a goal to be the best player in the PSL, and I did that. The state championship is the only thing I’m thinking about. It was disappointing not making it to the (PSL) finals this year. We had real high goals and expectations for the year. Knowing we didn’t come through is real heartbreaking.”

All-PSL Boys teams

First team

Gregory Elliott, Detroit East English

David Dejulius, Detroit East English

Kenneth Holloway, Detroit Osborn

Jorden Peterson, Detroit CMA

Jesse Scarber, Detroit King

Second team

Kelly Broadus, Detroit Douglass

Scott Nelson, Detroit West Side Academy

Leonard Silas, Detroit Cass Tech

Edmen Stewart, Detroit Davis Aerospace

Deontae Ulmer, Detroit Henry Ford

Third team

Patrick Hatcher, Detroit Pershing

Armonee Felder, Detroit Pershing

Kylan Shipp, Detroit Northwestern

Janard Smith Jr., Detroit Douglass

Chandler Turner, Detroit Renaissance

More games

River Rouge 78, Romulus 72: Delante Peterson had 25 points and 14 rebounds and Jarius Grissom had 23 points and 10 rebounds for River Rouge (16-1). Dylan Price scored 23 for Romulus (13-4).

Al Willman is a freelance writer.