The first stop on GBW's weekend road trip took us to the city of Detroit for the second time in as many weeks to see Deshawn Sims and Detroit Pershing in action. On our previous trip we watched the 6-7 230-pounder turn in a 14-point/14-rebound effort against Detroit Finney to avenge an earlier loss and tie them for the East Division lead. This time the Doughboys took on an opponent that seemed greatly overmatched in Detroit Osborn team, but the Knights gave Pershing all that it could handle.
Osborn's full court pressure forced Pershing into a number of early turnovers, helping them secure an early six-point lead. The Doughboys eventually gained their composure, though, and chopped that lead to two (14-12) by the end of the first period. The home team really got rolling in the second when a steal and dunk by Sims at the five minute mark caused the crowd to erupt. Pershing gained the lead, but barely hung onto it, as they went into the locker room up 31-30.
Pershing extended its lead in the third with some intense man to man defense against the undersized Knights. They held Osborn to three points in the entire quarter and had a 44-34 lead heading into the final period of play.
Sensing that they were on the verge of being blown out, the small but scrappy Knights went back to their full court pressure. Their intense ball-hawking got them right back in the game. They again forced the Doughboys into a number of turnovers and rushed shots and triggered an 8-0 run sliced the lead down to two points (44-42) just a minute into the fourth. From there, Osborn's Dominique Johnson looked to take the game over.
After utilizing an excellent floor game up to that point to get his teammates involved, Prepsotlight's #7 wing forward decided to take the offense into his own hands. He outscored the Doughboys 7-3 over the next two minutes to give the Knights their first lead since midway through the second quarter, 49-48.
Sims came up big with a drive to answer on the next possession and regain the lead, but Osborn hung tough. The two teams tussled to a 54-54 tie with less than three minutes left, then Sims came up with the play that was the nail in the coffin. The top ranked player in the in-state class of 2006 swiped a pass at midcourt and went in for an emphatic two-handed slam. That ignited a 7-0 run that gave the Doughboys a lead the Knights could not recover from. Pershing went on to win the game 68-57.
Sims led all scorers with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Johnson led Osborn with 15 points and 7 assists.
After the contest Sims took the time to speak with GBW about the recent rumors that he was ready to get his decision out of the way. "I thought about going ahead and doing it recently, Sims said, "but I decided to go ahead and wait until after the season. Maybe even a little longer than that…into the summer."
For more on why, join us in our Monday evening chat at 9 PM EST.
From Detroit we headed up I-75 to Grand Blanc to watch the then undefeated Bobcats take on the Davison Cardinals in a highly anticipated rematch. In their previous meeting (at Davison), Grand Blanc outlasted the Cardinals to claim a 68-65 double overtime victory. Since that December 10th duel, no team had come as close to knocking off the fourth rank Bobcats.
From the onset of Friday nights contest everyone in attendance thought the game would be tight. The Davison players, however, had other plans. The visitors sprinted out to a quick 15-5 lead, and threatened to run away even further. Grand Blanc finally woke up, though, and scored a basket to cut the lead but to single digits. Michigan commitment K'len Morris followed that up by scoring his first bucket with 2:30 left in the first to cut Davison's lead to six. He teamed with Desmond Young to help pull the Bobcats even further back in it, sparking a 7-0 run to close the quarter and tie the score at 20 after one.
In the second, Morris brought even more of his all-around game to the fore, scoring six points and dishing a few assists. Meanwhile, Young continued his marksmanship from the outside (he was 4/6 from three-point range on the night). Their combined efforts helped send the home team into the half with a 35-30 lead. However, the tables turned quickly after the break.
The Cardinals opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run to regain the lead, 38-37. They kept the pressure on and increased that margin to five, but Morris ended the brief drought when he found Zach Gibson underneath for an easy basket to cut the lead to three with 3:44 remaining in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Bobcats though, Gibson picked up his fourth foul shortly thereafter and sat the following seven minutes. In the meantime, the Cardinals focused much more attention on Morris. That stymied the 6-5 wing's game a little, leaving it up to Young to keep his team within striking distance. Just as was the case in the first quarter, he did just that. The 6-2 senior reeled off five straight points to close the third period, sending the two teams into the final stanza knotted at 49.
Morris scored his first points of the second half in the opening minute of the fourth as part of a 5-2 run that put the home team up 54-51, but Davison would not let the Bobcats run away. The Cardinals twice tied the score in the following minutes, first at 57 and then at 59, to keep pace.
The Cardinals finally got their opportunity to recapture the lead in the game's final minutes, and it was senior Mike Loll that was called upon to come through in the clutch. When the 6-2 guard stepped to the line with 1:47 left to play, the packed Grand Blanc bleachers erupted in attempts to distract him. Ignoring the sounds of the booming crowd, he calmly sank both free throws to put Davison up 61-59. Grand Blanc failed to tie the score the next time down the court and was forced to foul Loll again. Two more from the charity stripe gave the Cardinals a 4-point with 31.8 seconds left. The game appeared to be over at the point, but the Bobcats had one last gasp left in them.
Grand Blanc's Lance Smith nailed a huge three pointer from the corner to cut the lead to one with just 9.1 seconds left on the clock. Two more Loll free throws gave Davison a three-point cushion, but Grand Blanc still had a shot at the tie.
Morris grabbed the inbounds pass and attempted to race it to the other end, but two Davison defenders pressured him all of the way to the halfcourt line. After losing the handle he tried to regain possession before it went out of bounds, but it was too late. The Cardinals ran out the clock to earn the 65-62 victory.
Desmond Young led the Bobcats with career high 25 points, while Morris chipped in with 15. Mike Loll led Davison with 20.
After the game Grand Blanc coach Matt Shanafelt mentioned that he hoped this
to be a wake up call for his team "We haven't practiced well since the
Powers game (click here for the story)," Shanafelt said to the Flint Journal.
"After that win, the guys were starting to believe the hype and get all
full of themselves. They were due to get grounded.
"They're talented enough to beat some teams on talent alone. Tonight is not one of those games you're going to win on talent. We've been a tad lethargic the last two weeks. Hopefully, this will get their attention."
GBW will be heading out to see K'len again very soon.