Detroit — Jordan Whitford rallied Detroit King back from a 12-point second-half deficit to pull off a 55-51 double-overtime upset win over PSL champion Detroit Cass Tech Monday night in a Division 1 district opening-round game.
Whitford, a senior point guard, scored 11 of his team-high 18 points during the fourth quarter to help King (16-4) outscore Cass Tech — 15-5 and ranked No. 12 in The News Super 20 poll — by a 24-14 margin to force overtime.
And that’s saying something, since King had trailed Cass Tech 30-20 after three quarters when it had missed all 13 of its 3-point shots against Cass Tech’s zone defenses.
But then Whitford connected on a pair of 3-pointers, freshman guard Chancey Willis Jr. made two more and Davin Walker hit yet another long-range shot during the fourth-quarter rally.
In the second overtime, Willis Jr. drove the lane and was fouled, then made two free throws for a 52-50 lead with 47 seconds left.
Then, after Cass Tech junior point guard Tyson Acuff missed an off balance 10-footer, the rebound was loose and Whitford scooped it up near midcourt and went in for a transition layup to open up a 54-50 lead with 25 seconds left.
“That’s all hustle, all hustle,” said Whitford of his transition bucket to open up King’s largest lead of the night. “Coach (George Ward) told me to keep fighting and I played the whole 40 minutes of the game.”
Whitford talked of the comeback during the fourth quarter.
“We knew we were going to hit shots eventually,” Whitford said. “Coach told us to keep shooting and they started to fall and got us back in it. We kept our focus and hit shots and that was the key.
“This was a big win, a big game because we win in our district and we win regional, we’ll get to the quarterfinals. This is one of the biggest rivalries in the state, not just the city. We just came out on top. That’s a very good basketball team, but we got the better of them today.”
King had struggled down the stretch, winning just four of its final seven regular season games and losing to Detroit Renaissance in a PSL semifinal.
King was aided by Walker, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, who came off the bench and scored six, including the one 3-pointer that he knocked down off the window to cut the deficit to 38-37 with 3:40 left.
Then in the second overtime, Walker missed a 3-pointer, but followed his shot, grabbed the rebound and found Whitford for a 3-pointer for a 50-47 cushion with 2:20 left.
“I’m glad my teammates trusted me and then I made that 3 off the window, missed that other 3, but got the rebound and found our big senior (Whitford) who knocked it down,” Walker said. “This is a great rivalry so it felt great to get the win.”
Cass Tech had a chance to win the game in the first overtime when 6-5 senior forward Kalil Whitehead stepped to the line with 1.5 seconds left and his team trailing 47-46. After missing the first, King coach George Ward called a timeout, then another before Whitehead returned and made his second free throw to force a second overtime.
Whitehead played well, scoring 22 on 10-of-16 shooting, but passed up on an inside shot — possibly a jump hook he had made earlier in the game — with Cass Tech leading 44-39 with 1:20 left in regulation to take more time off the clock.
Cass Tech ended up turning the ball over and Whitford grabbed the ball and was fouled while attacking the basket, making a free throw to pull within 44-40 … and keep King’s hopes alive.
John Massey Jr., a 6-5 senior forward, scored 11 and 6-5 sophomore Omar Zeigler eight for King which finished 6-of-22 on 3-pointers.
Acuff scored 12 for Cass Tech which was 0-for-13 from 3-point range and connected on just 7-of-17 free throws.
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Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 75, Troy Athens 54: Myren Harris scored 21, John Bolden 14 and Tommy Schuster 12 for Chippewa Valley (12-9). Ethan LaBay and Davis DiGiovanni each scored 13 and Josh Seifert 11 for Athens (4-17).
Dearborn 75, Dearborn Heights Crestwood 58: Ben Clark scored 17, Alieu Kah and Ali Zahr 11, and Ali Mackled and Niemer Hamood 10 for Dearborn (10-11). Ammar Jdoor scored 23 for Crestwood (11-10).
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Hamtramck 72, Detroit East English 47: Javier Whitaker scored 19, James Clay had 12 points and five assists and Terrance Ireland had 12 and five rebounds for Hamtramck (14-6). East English finishes 5-9.
Jackson 57, Mason 46: Tyshan Kelly scored 18 and Micah Cretsinger 13 for Jackson (15-5). Noah Anderson scored 13 for Mason (10-11).
Lansing Everett 55, Holt 49: Albert Mask scored 12 and Ja’Lon Payne 10 for Everett (9-12). Josiah Shamsibdeen scored 24 for Holt (3-18).
Walled Lake Northern 44, White Lake Lakeland 39: Troy Lattimore scored 17 and Kevyn Robertson seven for Northern (19-2). Patrick McDonald scored 12 and Trent Farquhar 10 for Lakeland (13-7).
Wayne Memorial 62, Romulus 55: Kenneth Bowie scored 14, Isaiah Lewis 12 and Cartier Muse-Suber 11 for Memorial (16-5). Keyshawn Kyle and Muhammad Ceesay each scored 12, and Terrance Broughton 11 for Romulus (12-8).
Woodhaven 56, Trenton 51: Josh Warren scored 19 and Marcus Brown 14 for Woodhaven (17-4). Zack Conti scored 15 for Trenton (3-15).
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook 81, Clawson 58: Alex Finney scored 22 and Jordan Benson 16 for Cranbrook (14-6). TJ Verner led Clawson (5-16) with 17 points and Kendall Simpson scored 16.
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Detroit Voyageur 52, Detroit West Side 37: Jeffrey Pullen scored 15 and Damien Clark 13 for Voyageur (9-10). Alonzo Spears scored 16 for West Side (2-18).
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Detroit News staff contributed;