Saturday night featured a key match-up between two of the state's top Mr. Basketball candidates in future Spartan Keith Appling of Pershing and Southern California commit Maurice Jones of Saginaw Arthur Hill.
Jones won the scoring battle as the 5-foot-6 guard rang up an outstanding 49 points. But Appling got the "W" for his Pershing team.
The 6-foot-1 Appling started the game hot by scoring 7 of Pershing first 11 points as the Doughboys took an early 11-3 lead. Appling's two hand dunk to end the half game Pershing a 42-30 half time lead.
In the third quarter Pershing built their lead to 20 points before Jones led an Arthur Hill comeback.
The Lumberjacks were able to trim the lead to 5 points with just under five minutes to play, but that is when Appling moved from the two guard over to the point guard position.
From there Appling was able to break the Lumberjack pressure and either found himself at the free throw line or was able to set up a teammate for an easy basket as Pershing fended off Arthur Hill for the 103-95 win.
Appling finished with 38 points to go with 10 rebounds. The win was crucial for Appling as many Mr. Basketball voters were paying close attention to this match-up between Appling and Jones.
Appling put himself in the driver's seat by scoring 49 points in last year's Class A State Finals. Jones is considered one of Appling's biggest threats to win the award so the victory should help Appling's résumé down the road.