Pershing, who was knocked out of the PSL championship race early a season ago, and has not won a Public School League championship since 1996 under then head coach Johnny Golston, kept its hopes alive by quickly jumping on top of an overmatched Rockets team.
"We got knocked out (of the PSL Championship) in the first round last year," said Pershing coach A.W. Canada of his team which got all the way to the State Finals before losing to Saginaw in 2007-08. "So for a lot of these guys, this is new."
Crockett kept the game competitive early and got Pershing star and Michigan State commitment Derrick Nix in foul trouble. But the Doughboys got a solid contribution from forward Tevon Conrad, who scored ten points off the bench and gave Pershing the spark they needed.
"Those are 'the brothers'," said Canada. "If one isn't going, the other one picks him. We'd love to get them in at the same time, but we couldn't because of the foul trouble."
Keith Appling, another Michigan State commitment led the Doughboys and all scorers with 15 points and could have had more, but instead, looked to distribute the ball to his talented teammates, Nix, Conrad and overlooked senior Dion Dismuke.
"It was just a battle of attrition," said Canada. "It took a minute for the guys to get a feel and then after that, we were OK."
Pershing built a 12-point halftime lead and not long after the second half started, the rout was on. By 4:14 in the third quarter the Doughboys held a 20-point lead and Crockett began holding the ball in what appeared to be an attempt to keep the score down.
It didn't work as Pershing kept its stars in the ballgame until they had built a 30-point fourth quarter lead. Even when Pershing brought in the reserves, they kept the lead intact until the buzzer sounded, ending the game at 86-55.
The first quarter of the second game between Detroit Renaissance and Detroit Cody was marred when a fight broke out in the mezzanine area of the Cass Tech gym. Police briefly used tear gas to break up an altercation between fueding young people and one person involved in the scuffling ran on to the court.
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