'Cloud nine:' Mumford girls rally for first PSL title

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Detroit Mumford's Tiara Earnest and Zamaria Polk celebrate as the clock hits zero with a 60-58 victory over Detroit Renaissance on Friday at Calihan Hall.

Detroit — The Detroit Mumford girls basketball team battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to win its first Detroit Public School League championship in program history with a 60-58 win over Detroit Renaissance Friday night at Calihan Hall.

And, it was 5-foot-3 junior guard Adoreya Williams who got the job done while hobbling after suffering a leg injury with 6:30 left and Mumford (16-3) trailing 48-43.

Williams returned to score five points during the final three minutes, first making a 3-pointer to open up a 58-52 lead, then on a driving lay-up for a 60-56 cushion with 1:30 left.

Still, Renaissance (12-7) had a chance to pull the game out, first cutting the deficit to 60-58 on Shannon Wheeler’s putback basket with 35 seconds left.

Then, after a timeout with 11.7 seconds left, Renaissance had an open look on Dalyn Henderson’s 3-pointer from the right corner. It rattled around and out and Catherine Ndukwe’s putback failed to go in as time expired.

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“I had to play hard, couldn’t let it (calf injury) get to me, had to help my team win the championship,” said Williams, who finished with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range. “We made history, first girls varsity basketball team in school history to win the city championship. That last possession was scary, especially since if she hits that three they win. We just played our butts off.”

Mumford junior guard Tiara Earnest also came through down the stretch. She finished with 11 points, nine coming during the fourth quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers to help turn a 48-44 deficit into a 55-52 lead.

And, don’t forget Mumford’s full-court pressure that caused problems.

“I’m on cloud nine,” said Mumford coach Kareem Hogan. “The girls played really hard and showed toughness. Our defensive pressure was relentless and that turned the game for us.”

Hogan had high praise for Earnest.

“She’s been a plus-player since she was a freshman,” Hogan said. “She’s always made big shots, always.”

Look for Renaissance to be back in contention for the title next year since it was led by a pair of freshmen: 5-3 point guard Kailee Davis and Wheeler, a 6-1 center

Davis, who scored a season-high 32 Monday night in a 73-48 semifinal rout of six-time defending PSL champ Detroit King, scored 20 after battling back from a tough start (0-for-5 shooting in first quarter with two turnovers).

Wheeler (14 points, 18 rebounds) and Ndukwe (11 points, nine rebounds) helped Renaissance get multiple second-chance opportunities  while Davis scored on four transition baskets  during a 19-3 second-quarter run that led to a 33-23 halftime lead.

Wheeler was dominant and recorded a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) in the first half.

Renaissance held a 46-41 lead after three, but Mumford 6-3 senior Zamaria Polk (nine points, eight rebounds), 6-1 junior Shanea Dinwiddie and their teammates did a better job on the defensive glass during the final quarter.

Henderson finished with 13 points, but was held scoreless during the fourth quarter.