Detroit — The Detroit Public School League boys basketball championship will be up for grabs in the upcoming weeks with more than a handful of teams having a legitimate shot at the trophy.
Cass Tech (13-3) enters as the defending champ, but it was swept by Henry Ford (12-3), including a 76-73 overtime loss on its homecourt on Tuesday.
And, don’t forget Detroit East English (14-2) which showcases the city’s top player — and one of the best in the state — in Michigan-bound senior guard David DeJulius.
Detroit Renaissance (10-5) has a strong 1-2 punch in 6-foot-7 juniors Chandler Turner and Carrington McCaskill. Renaissance split its regular-season series with Cass Tech.
And, don’t forget Detroit Pershing. Sure, Pershing has a 6-10 record, but played competitively in losses to unbeaten Ann Arbor Skyline (61-60) and East English (68-65) while earning wins over King, Edison and Southfield Christian.
Southeastern (11-4) is led by Anthony Johnson and King could cause problems with its tough defense, along with perimeter threat Marcus Gibbs.
Play-in games are set for today with first-round games at host sites Tuesday and quarterfinal games Friday at Western and King. The semifinals will be at Cass Tech Feb. 13 with the championship game at Calihan Hall Feb. 16.
“The boys have been playing hard and well together,” Henry Ford coach Ken Flowers said. “We have a couple of seniors who are really understanding that you have to be playing your best ball and playing together and we have other guys buying in. They trust in each other, playing hard and really just go out and execute.”
Flowers was at Detroit Redford when Manny Harris (Michigan) led it to PSL championships in 2006 and 2007. Now, he wants to win one as head coach at Henry Ford, which has a strong nucleus in Anthony Roberts, who averages 19.5 points, Deontae Ulmer (14 points) and Antonio Green (12 points).
Flowers said several teams can win the title.
“There’s a lot of parity around the city and I believe almost everybody can beat everybody and it’s all about matchups,” Flowers said. “Some teams match up better with other teams and other teams don’t. You just have to execute and play well down the stretch. There’s nothing easy and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
“Anthony Roberts, Deontae Ulmer and Antonio Green have been playing well. Anthony Roberts scored 40 last Tuesday against Cass. When those three guys are playing well it’s hard to beat us.”
Cass Tech bounced back from its loss to Henry Ford with a 59-50 win against Renaissance on Friday, showing its ability to cause problems with its full-court pressure. Cass Tech defeated Class A state runner-up Grand Rapids Christian 57-43 in the Red Hawk Showcase in Grand Rapids on Saturday.
“There’s some good talent, some good coaches and you play teams multiple times and they make adjustments,” Cass Tech coach Steve Hall said of the PSL playoffs. “We’re right where we were last year so we feel good about things. Randy Gilbert has been playing well for us and so has Tyson Acuff and Chris Murry.”
Watch for West Bloomfield
West Bloomfield advanced to Breslin Center last March, falling to Clarkston in a Class A semifinal.
Don’t be too shocked to see West Bloomfield making another run. It lost the majority of its starters from a year ago, but returns guard Tre Harvey, and has Jalen Kelso, as well as 6-3 guard Donovan Moore, who transferred in from Illinois.
Moore, the grandson of former longtime West Bloomfield coach Larry Moore, has the ability to score in bunches, the way he scored 15, including five dunks, Friday in the opening quarter of an 83-65 victory over Southfield Christian. He has played the last six games.
Moore scored 31 in the win after scoring 40 Tuesday in a 72-71 loss to a talented Troy team.
Kelso, the son of former Piston Ben Kelso, came up just short of a quadruple double (19 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, nine steals) against Southfield Christian.
“We started off the season 0-3 and our schedule has been insane, lost four games on the last possession,” West Bloomfield coach Jeremy Denha said. “Our record’s (6-6) not like everybody else’s, but we’re in a good spot.
“Tre (Harvey) is one of the best shooters in the state and we’re putting him on the ball so he’s playing some point guard for us. Jalen is a guy who fills up the stat sheet. He has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen and he’s a 50-50 ball kid, any 50-50 ball Jalen’s going to win.”
As for Moore, Denha said: “He’s very explosive, a 6-2, 6-3 swingman slash point guard. He just attacks the rim and as a one-on-one matchup I think he’s almost un-guardable. He does some great things in transition, just gets up and down the floor with ease, just floats up and down.”
West Bloomfield will play at MAC Red leader Macomb Dakota (9-3) Friday. Dakota swept its season series with Sterling Heights Stevenson, winning at Stevenson Friday, 66-59, behind 27 points from 6-3 sophomore Ryan Rollins.
PSL playoffs schedule
Monday’s play-in games
■ Osborn at Western, 4
■ Collegiate Prep vs. Northwestern at CMA, 4
■ Delta Prep at Central, 4
■ Davis at Edison, 7
■ Leadership at Cody, 4
Tuesday’s first-round games
■ Western-Osborn winner at Denby, 4
■ CMA-Northwestern winner at King, 4
■ Douglass at Pershing, 4
■ Central-Delta Prep winner at Henry Ford, 4
■ Davis-Edison winner at Mumford, 4
■ West Side at Cass Tech, 4
■ Renaissance at Southeastern, 4
■ Cody-Leadership winner at East English, 4