Detroit — Chandler Turner played like a senior leader Tuesday evening in the PSL semifinal, coming out with great energy to help give Detroit Renaissance the lead, then making big plays down the stretch to lead his team to a 55-46 upset win over No. 6 Detroit King before more than 2,000 fans at Cass Tech.
Turner, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, scored seven in the opening quarter to spark a 12-8 lead, then Renaissance went on a 8-0 run to start the second quarter with Kaylein Marzette and Juwan Maxey each making 3-pointers to open up a 20-8 cushion.
Renaissance (15-3, 10-0 West Town) — which led 28-17 at halftime, increased the lead to 38-25 after three and was never challenged — will face No. 12 Cass Tech (14-3) in Friday’s 7 p.m. title game at Cass Tech.
Simply put, King (15-3, 9-1 Midtown) was careless with the ball and struggled with its shooting, turning the ball over 10 times in the opening half and making just 11-of-29 shots from the field through three quarters, including just 1-of-11 three-pointers.
King did pull within 45-40 with 2:40 left on Jordan Whitford’s 3-pointer, but those were the lone points coming off of four turnovers that King had forced with its fullcourt pressure during the final three minutes of the game.
“This is exciting, just to be back in this position for the first time since ninth grade, it’s really amazing to be back in this position with all the drama and everything,” said Turner, talking about the firing of longtime Renaissance coach Vito Jordan this past fall despite having a team capable of competing for the state championship and then losing a potential Mr. PSL and Mr. Basketball player in Carrington McCaskill who transferred after Jordan’s ouster.
Renaissance advanced to PSL championship games in 2015 and ’16, losing both times, then finishing 15-7 last season.
Turner was pleased with Renaissance’s defensive effort.
“We were just switching everything around, man, zone, just kept switching,” said Turner, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds and will be playing at Bowling Green next season. “Really, we’ve finally perfected everything that we’ve been working all season and I’m glad that it’s paying off now. It’s just great to be back playing on the big stage again.”
Renaissance first-year head coach John White had a balanced scoring attack with Turner being joined in double figures by Marzette (12 points, eight rebounds) and Maxey (10) with point guard Keon Henderson scoring eight and Lawrence Carter, seven.
Whitford scored 19 for King with 12 coming during the fourth quarter, and 6-4 sophomore Omar Zeigler scored 14.
After Zeigler split a pair from the line to pull King to within 47-41 with 2:10 left, Turner scored inside, then made a free throw on Renaissance’s next possession for a 50-41 advantage with just over a minute left.
Renaissance converted 16-of-22 free throws, compared to King’s 7-of-15.
Other PSL semifinal
Cass Tech 70, Pershing 52: Kalil Whitehead scored seven during an 11-0 run early in the second quarter to turn a 15-10 deficit into a 21-15 Cass Tech lead.
And, Cass Tech never trailed the rest of the way, leading 32-25 at halftime and 53-40 after three.
Whitehead, a 6-5 senior forward, scored off an alley-oop dunk, then made an inside basket before knocking down a 3-pointer during the pivotal run. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, making 6-of-9 shots from the field.
“That was an important run because we needed to get some momentum to keep the pressure up so we could keep the lead,” Whitehead said. “It feels great to be in the championship game. We just need to all be on the same page to come out on top (against Renaissance).”
Junior point guard Tyson Acuff scored 16, making 7-of-11 shots, and Michael Washington-Hill had 14 points for Cass Tech.
Pierre Hill scored 13 for Pershing (16-2).
Allen Park Inter-City Baptist 62, Westland Huron Valley Lutheran 38: Ethan Lividini scored 22 and Andrew Conn added 10 for Inter-City Baptist (11-5, 9-0 MIAC Red). Cameron Ohlsson finished with 13 points for Huron Valley Lutheran (5-11, 3-6).
Comstock 71, Paw Paw 31: Daisy Ansel finished with 45 points, nine rebounds and eight steals to lead Comstock (12-3).
Ecorse 51, Hamtramck 16: Asia Boynton had 13 points and 13 rebounds, Alliyah Davis 15 points and six steals and Dasia Croft 10 points and 12 rebounds for Ecorse (11-3, 7-2 Michigan Metro Black). Maryann Harris scored 10 for Hamtramck.
Trenton 55, Southgate Anderson 17: Alayna Mulford had 16 points and 17 rebounds, making it her fifth consecutive double-double game, and Therese Hebda added 13 points for Trenton (13-2, 10-1 Downriver).