In fact, five dollars were worth two games and the crowds grew as the clock pushed into the early stages of the opener, Detroit Redford vs. Detroit Osborn, and the capper, Pontiac Northern vs. Warren De LaSalle, neared 5,000 people.
Anticipating a track meet in the first game, I joked, "Redford 92 Osborn 87."
A track meet ensued as presses were dissolved and half court sets were half of ten seconds. I counted 139 shots between the two and a total field goal percentage that neared 53% (73 field goals made) over the 32 minute span. And not that 25 combined turnovers (Redford 10; Osborn 15) is a low number but, when one team scores 100, Redford, and the other, Osborn, scores 89 one has to be impressed with the offensive output from the two teams.
Defense is another story.
Redford's newly crowned Mr. Basketball Corperryale "Manny" Harris was patented "Manny" as he scored 14 (of 16 ft) of his 47 from the line while grabbing nine of his 14 boards on the offensive end.
The Huskies 6-foot senior guard Jerome Tyson knocked down a few go ahead threes in the first half on his way to 21 total points.
6'7 junior power forward Colin Horn has made strides on the defensive end over the last few months. He grabbed five boards and scored six.
Osborn if an offensive machine led by seniors: 6-foot-3 Solomon Farris' 22 points, who can shoot, create, and handle the ball; top five of the unsigned senior's.
5'11 guard Dejuan Plummer is one of the state's best scorers but, was held scoreless in the first-half. More surprisingly he only took three shots.
6'6 forward Deandre Gant is the lone inside presence for Osborn and the lefty dropped sixteen points, grabbed eight boards (two offensive), three assists, and a couple of blocks.
5-foot-11 guard Rafael Riley led the Knights with 23 and hit shots from all over the court. He was the catalyst for Osborn's first half scoring 14.
The night cap did not duplicate the battle back and forth battle of the first game but, did provide an intense battle through and through. It's hard to beat a game where there are fourteen lead changes, eight ties, and the largest lead six is the difference in the final score.
This was also of two of the state's best coaches in De LaSalle's Greg Esler and Northern's Robert Rogers, both have won state titles. In this game, Warren De LaSalle Pilots outscored the Pontiac Northern Huskies, 61-55 in a thrill ride of a game.
The Pilots were able to break the Huskies' pressure and took advantage of open backdoor cuts and open three-pointers, where 6'3 senior Kevin Cassidy and 6-foot-3 lefty sophomore Alex Marcotullio were waiting on the wings. But, the true key to the Pilots' success was coaching, of course, and then the cool guard play of 6'1 senior Don Flower (Michigan Tech) who found the open man more than not, on his way to five assists and sixteen points.
Cassidy took advantage of every open opportunity and led De LaSalle with 19 points on a hot shooting nine of eleven from the field.
Marcotullio, one of the state's more noted sophomores, scored 15 while knocking down two threes and three of his buckets gave his team the lead.
Northern established a 31-29 lead at halftime, their second largest lead of the game before a put-back by 6-foot-3 senior Tim Williams extended the lead to four. Northern then took the lead into the fourth 42-41.
The Huskies held the lead for the first three minutes of the quarter before, the Pilots 6-foot-4 senior forward Cody Edwards hit a three from the top of the key to tie the game, at 48, energizing the large De LaSalle crowd. Williams quickly answered on the opposing end by scoring and adding the free-throw for a three point Northern lead. That was the last lead Northern would hold.
Countering for De LaSalle, Fowler answered with his own and one but, more important to the game it was Northern's senior guard Devonte' Pryor who was called for his fourth foul. Looking to take the lead Pryor came back driving outside of the lane but, was called for a charge and his fifth foul, excluding him from the game.
This is when the young Marcotullio stepped up to the plate by hitting a jumper and then heading to the basket for a lay-up which separated the Pilots by four over the Huskies. De LaSalle outscored the Huskies 13-4 in the last four minutes of the game.
Williams led the Huskies with 19 (the state's #1 unsigned senior) and many college coaches were in the stands evaluating his talents. 6-foot-5 forward Martell Webb (University of Michigan-football) added 16 and 5-foot-10 senior point guard Bryan Smothers should have caught the eye of any DII-III colleges in attendance with his playmaking and soft pull up jumper.
Pryor's foul trouble relegated him to two points despite four assists and three steals. -foot-