Novi — Traveon Maddox Jr. is getting used to stealing the spotlight in the final seconds during Novi’s postseason run, and his teammates have no problems with it.
And, for good reason since Novi is heading to Breslin Center to compete for the Class A championship this weekend.
Maddox, a 6-foot-3 senior who will play next year at Oakland University, made a 14-foot floater as time expired for the difference in a 75-73 state quarterfinal win over Belleville Tuesday night at Calihan Hall.
“As soon as it left my hand I felt it was good, like back-to-back,” said Maddox who made a driving layup with 2.8 seconds left last Wednesday in a 61-59 regional championship win, handing Ann Arbor Skyline its first loss. “I was supposed to go backdoor and the fact that Davion Williams is a great DB the backdoor didn’t work so I came around the screen that (Trendon) Hankerson set for me and I gave an up fake and shot the floater and it was all good. This one tops them all.”
Novi’s backcourt combined for 62 points with Maddox finishing with 22 points; Hankerson, 24, seven coming in the fourth quarter, and 6-3 junior Jiovanni Miles, 16, four coming in the final eight minutes.
“The team has gelled at the right time,” said Novi coach Brandon Sinawi whose team started the season 1-5 before getting Hankerson back from an injury and 6-9 senior Tariq Woody eligible after transferring in from Plymouth. “It was a team effort, but highlighted by that last play. That was a big-time shot, but don’t take anything away from the game that he (Maddox) had, the game that Trendon Hankerson had, Jiovanni Miles had, and Tariq kind of figured things out so it was a team effort. It’s madness and we’re glad to be on the other side of it this year.”
The game was close throughout with Novi (17-8) leading 20-19 after one, Belleville owning a 36-31 halftime lead and Novi, 57-54 after three.
Novi built a 66-61 lead on Maddox’s floater midway through the fourth and Michigan State-bound 6-9 forward Gabe Brown started misfiring from 3-point range for Belleville.
But, Belleville (20-6) battled back with its defense, getting a steal which led to two free throws from Kaevon Merriweather to pull within 73-71 with a minute left, then forcing Maddox into a 5-second call to get the ball back with Davion Williams scoring on a runner in the lane to pull even with 19 seconds left.
Brown finished with 17 points, just two free throws in the final quarter. Williams scored 17 with seven coming in the fourth quarter; Daniel Alverson, 14 and Merriweather, 10.
Sinawi felt the third quarter was the key for Novi which outscored Belleville by a 26-18 margin during the quarter.
“Our energy picked up,” pointed out Sinawi. “We went a little bit of zone. We figured they weren’t going to continue to hit the same amount of shots that they did in the first half. And, then when you think about just the effort rebounding, we did a better job in the third quarter.
“And, then we had backdoor after backdoor after backdoor, that was our mindset. They were aggressive, let’s beat them at the basket and that worked for eight or 10 points and they were easy layups for us, and the fourth quarter was battle.”
Sinawi went back to that backdoor play in the final seconds, but it was Maddox creating his own heroics.
“It was a backdoor for Tre, we ran it earlier for a dunk, so he was going to swing it to cut backdoor and 4 (Williams) did a really good job with covering him, and when you think about it the scramble just kind of happened,” Sinawi said. “Those are just kids that want to play and know how to play and he’s a talented player to make that kind of shot with no time left.”
More Class A
Clarkston 52, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 31: Foster Loyer had 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, C.J. Robinson had 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, Taylor Currie had nine points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and Nick Wells had seven points, four rebounds and two steals for Clarkston (24-1). Carman-Ainsworth is 23-3. Clarkston plays Warren De La Salle in the semis.
New Haven 78, Bridgeport 72: Ronald Jeffery had 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Romeo Weems had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, Tavares Oliver had 13 points and five assists, Ascaum Johnson had 11 points, and Ashton Sherrell had 10 points and seven rebounds for New Haven (26-0). Charles Garrett scored 36 and Sir Quarius Ball 21 for Bridgeport (24-2). New Haven plays Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the semis.
River Rouge 59, Dearborn Divine Child 44: Donavan Freeman had 17 points and 12 rebounds, Jason Norton had 13 points and Nigel Colvin 12 for River Rouge (23-1). Parker LePage scored 16 for Divine Child (19-6). River Rouge plays Benton Harbor in the semis.
Detroit Edison 73, Unionville Sebewaing 46: Deonte Johnson had 25 points, Pierre Mitchell 14 and Gary Solomon 11 for Edison (15-10). Isaiah Williamson scored 13 for Unionville (25-1). Edison plays Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the semis.
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 31, Kalamazoo Christian 28: C.J. Haut had 13 points for Catholic Central (25-0). Jordan Katje scored 14 for Kalamazoo Christian (23-3). Catholic Central plays Maple City Glen Lake in the semis.
Southfield Christian 88, Flint International Academy 53: Caleb Hunter had 23 points, Bryce Washington 20 and Harlond Beverly 19 for Southfield Christian (21-4). Dequarion Williams scored 15 and Gregory Bradley 14 for Flint International (23-3). Southfield Christian plays Dollar Bay in the semis.
Other boys basketball quarterfinal scores
Holland West Ottawa 58, East Lansing 55
Benton Harbor 71, Williamston 51
Grand Rapids Catholic Central 65, Boyne City 43
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian 53, Sanford Meridian 30
Maple City Glen Lake 66, Iron Mountain 49
Buckley 67, Hillman 50
Dollar Bay 74, Cedarville 68
Hillsdale Academy 66, Marcellus Howardsville 38