Thursday’s roundup: Southfield A&T dethrones King
Dearborn — All Deja Church could do was sit dejectedly and watch Detroit King celebrate the Class A regional championship a year ago.
It was a far different scene this time around as Church, a Miss Basketball finalist, scored 10 of her 20 points during the fourth quarter to lead Southfield A&T to a 55-51 victory over King Thursday night in the regional title game at Fordson.
“It feels really good,” said Church, who will play next year at Michigan. “I’ve been in this position before last year but on the other side watching them get the trophy, and I know how it felt, I know how it felt going home crying so I knew this year I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
“In the fourth quarter we knew that we couldn’t let up. In the third quarter they made a little run and we knew the game wasn’t over. They kept fighting and fighting. Before the game I told the team that basketball’s a game of runs and we just had to make sure to make the last run.”
Southfield A&T (21-4) led 29-21 at halftime and still held a 41-36 cushion early in the fourth before King (22-2) pulled within one on a three-point play by sophomore guard Del’Janae Williams with 5:50 left.
A&T answered with a 8-0 run to open up a 50-41 lead with 3:25 remaining. King could pull no closer than four the rest of the way.
“It’s been a while, but what matters is that this is the first one for Southfield A&T and that means everything in the world for me since I had to fight to be where I am right now,” said Michelle Marshall, who guided Southfield-Lathrup the previous 21 years, including a Class A state championship in 2005. “Our defense was fantastic and I was very proud of them.
“Deja Church has been with me for four years and has been trying to get over this hump for a long time. She’s a big-time basketball player who has worked so hard to bring this team together so I’m really proud of her because she took over as a senior captain should do.”
And, now Church has to wait to find out if she will be named Miss Basketball, with the award going to the winner Monday afternoon, the day before Southfield A&T will play its state quarterfinal game against Ann Arbor Huron, a 49-40 regional final winner over Belleville.
Church was proud of 5-foot-10 sophomore forward Alexis Johnson who had 16 points and 12 rebounds to give Southfield A&T a 39-31 advantage on the glass, including 19 offensive rebounds.
Johnson started the pivotal 8-0 run with a putback, but banged her head on the floor moments later and had to take a seat on the bench for nearly two minutes. She returned and made a jump hook from the right baseline for a 52-44 lead.
“Alexis is our spark,” Church said of Johnson. “She has so much attitude behind her. She’s a great teammate to have and when she went down I kind of got scared for a second. I don’t know what she’s made of but she’s one of a kind for sure and once she got back in the game I knew it was ours.”
King advanced to the state title game last year and returned its backcourt of seniors Alicia Norman and Tia Tedford. Norman scored 18 and Tedford 14, including three 3-pointers during the second half.
Southfield A&T limited King to 3-of-15 3-pointers while forcing 17 turnovers, the majority coming during the second quarter.
“They killed us on the boards and 24 (Johnson) did a good job for them,” King coach William Winfield said. “We had too many turnovers. Turnovers killed us.”
King was forcing turnovers in the opening quarter with a fullcourt and trapping defense.
“Sometimes the pressure works, but sometimes it doesn’t,” Winfield said.
More girls regionals
Farmington Hills Mercy 35, Walled Lake Western 14: Jackie Bauer scored nine, Jenna Schluter and Chloe Godbold eight for Mercy (22-3). Kailee Ford had six points for Walled Lake Western (20-5).
Macomb Dakota 63, Fenton 51: Emily Langolf scored 26 and Tara Bieniewicz 19 for Dakota (19-6). Aly Lenz had 13 points and Taylor Mowery 12 for Fenton (18-7).
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 59,Dearborn Henry Ford 26: Rozhane Wells and Adrienne Anderson scored 13 each and Lauryn Carroll 12 for Arbor Prep (25-0). Lauren Whitford had 10 for Dearborn Henry Ford (19-6).
Utica Ford 73, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse 48: Alek Ivanovic scored 22, Donnie Schuster 12 and Alex Iafrate 11 for Ford (14-8). Andrew Salter had 15 for L’Anse Creuse (8-13).
Riverview Gabriel Richard 68, Detroit Univeral 37: Tim Augustyniak scored 11 and Matt Silka 11 for Riverview (18-3). Khaled Saif had nine points for Universal (5-14).
Bloomfield Hills Roeper 43, Michigan Math & Science 22: Evan Akkashian scored 21 and Jacob Gladney 11 for Roeper (7-14). Math & Science is 6-7.
Thursday’s girls scores
Regional 1 (at Sturgis)
Kalamazoo Central 67, East Lansing 59
Regional 2 (at Zeeland East)
East Kentwood 60, Hudsonville 48
Regional 3 (at Lincoln Park)
AA Huron 49, Belleville 40
Regional 4 (at Dearborn Fordson)
Southfield A&T 55, Detroit King 51
Regional 5 (at North Farmington)
FH Mercy 35, WL Western 14
Regional 6 (at BH Marian)
Warren Cousino 41, BH Marian 39 (OT)
Regional 7 (at Port Huron Northern)
Macomb Dakota 63, Fenton 51
Regional 8 (at Mount Pleasant)
Flushing 45, Midland Dow 39
Regional 9 (at Three Rivers)
Marshall 47, Otsego 25
Regional 10 (at Hamilton)
GR Catholic Central 35, Hamilton 26
Regional 11 (at Lansing Eastern)
Williamston 52, Portland 29
Regional 12 (at Chelsea)
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 59, Dearborn HFA 26
Regional 13 (at Detroit Mumford)
Detroit Mumford 51, Center Line 31
Regional 14 (at Yale)
Detroit Country Day 69, Goodrich 52
Regional 15 (at Frankenmuth)
Ithaca 48, Freeland 33
Regional 16 (at Kalkaska)
Cadillac 59, Kalkaska 58
Regional 17 (at Homer)
Schoolcraft 39, Bronson 32
Regional 18 (at Grandville Calvin Christian)
Pewamo-Westphalia 55, Springport 34
Regional 19 (at Adrian Madison)
Blissfield 56, Grass Lake 49 (2OT)
Regional 20 (at Royal Oak Shrine)
AP Cabrini vs. Detroit Edison Academy, 6 p.m. Friday
Regional 21 (at Flint Hamady)
Flint Hamady 38, Sandusky 36
Regional 22 (at Beal City)
Hemlock 60, Leroy Pine River 55
Regional 23 (at Charlevoix)
Maple City Glen Lake 56, Charlevoix 44
Regional 24 (at Marquette)
St. Ignace 50, Calumet 47
Regional 25 (at Vicksburg)
St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran 48, Battle Creek St. Phillip 41
Regional 26 (at Adrian Lenawee Christian)
Pittsford 61, Hillsdale 36
Regional 27 (at Waterford Lakes)
Waterford Lakes 57, SH Parkway Christian 51
Regional 28 (at Merrill)
Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary 44, Deckerville 36
Regional 29 (at Marion)
Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 52, Fruitport Calvary Christian 27
Regional 30 (at Brethren)
Frankfort 52, Onekama 43
Regional 31 (at Pellston)
Engadine 50, Pickford 48
Regional 32 (at Kingsford)
Crystal Falls Forest Park 62, Bark River-Harris 54 (2OT)
Detroit News staff contributed