With Michigan coach Tommy Amaker in the house, Jerret Smith got off to a slow start with four early turnovers. The future Wolverine soon settled down, though, and began to handle Pershing’s halfcourt trap. The Eagles had built a seven point by the second quarter, but behind combination of Deshawn Sims and Jabari Currie, the Doughboys mounted a 9-0 run to take a 23-21 lead.
Sims presence down low forced drew three early fouls on Romulus center Devin Searcy. That forced the Eagles to go to a smaller lineup with Smith seeing time at the four, but it proved beneficial, as their advantage in quickness allowed them to come right back.
Nate Oats' club ran out on a 12-3 spurt, capped by a buzzer beating triple from Smith, to take a 37-28 lead into the half. However, coming out of the break it would be two other Romulus seniors that stepped up to lead their team its first quarterfinal victory since the Terry Mills led state championship squad did it in 1986.
With Mills standing on the sideline at midcourt, Avery Stevenson went to work in the third. Pershing’s pressure defense had stymied most of his teammates, but Stevenson made good on drives to the basket and a few long range shots to score nine of his 15 points in the period. That helped hold off a furious Pershin comeback, as Romulus went into the final period clinging to a 60-56 advantage.
In the fourth another senior, Dante “Bubba” Williams exploded with a shooting performance that propelled his team to victory. With 11 points to his name heading into the final stanza, he scored 10 more to close the game... including a huge triple on a beautiful feed from a penetrating Smith. That long range bomb proved to be the nail in the coffin as Romulus outscored Pershing 22-12 in the final period to claim the 80-68 victory.
"I've been waiting for a break out game from him," Oats told the Detroit News regarding Williams. "I think he's the best shooter in the state and I told him if he was open he had to shoot it tonight. I hope he continues like this through the weekend."
Pershing (22-4) was led by Deshawn Sims with 21 points and Jabari Currie with 15 (1/8 from the free throw line).
GoBlueWolverine caught up Smith, (who finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists), after the game. Though happy with the outcome of the game, he remained focused on his team’s primary task. “Yeah, we won and we’re happy, but I want to win the whole thing,” Smith said. “We have more work to do.” (Look for more on Smith tomorrow)Next up for the Eagles is a Friday semifinal match up with the Saginaw Trojans.
For more on the other quarterfinal games and the upcoming semifinal match ups, stay tuned for the next High School Hoops with Dre segment, which is set to publish tomorrow. In the meantime, all the playoff results are listed below.
Holt 52, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 46
Romulus 80, Detroit Pershing 64
Grosse Pointe North 67, Pontiac Northern 57
Saginaw 58, Clarkston 56
Class A Semifinals - March 18
Saginaw (22-3) vs. Romulus (21-5) - 1 pm
Holt (24-2) vs. Grosse Pointe North (24-2) - 2:50 pm
Class A Final - March 19 - 4 pm
Grand Rapids South Christian 82, Hillsdale 59
Detroit Reniassance 64, Detroit Country Day 62
Haslett 72, Perry 55
Muskegon Heights 73, Houghton Lake 52
Class B Semifinals - March 18
Haslett (24-1) vs. Muskegon Heights (25-1) - 6 pm
Grand Rapids South Christian (24-1) vs. Detroit Renaissance (23-2) - 7:50 pm
Class B Final - March 19 - 8 pm
Albion 63, Buchanan 52
Unionville-Sebewaing 63, Detroit Community 60
Olivet 92, Shelby 84
Negaunee 60, LeRoy Pine River 44
Class C Semifinals - March 17
Unionville-Sebewaing (21-4) vs. Negaunee (21-4) - 1 pm
Olivet (26-0) vs. Albion (16-9) - 2:50 pm
Class C Final - March 19 - Noon
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 76, Adrian Lenawee Christian 52
Detroit Rogers 49, Fowler 38
Bellaire 46, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 44
Posen 69, Watersmeet 68 (OT)
Class D Semifinals - March 17
Bellaire (25-0) vs. Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (24-2) - 6 pm
Detroit Rogers (21-4) vs. Posen (25-0) - 7:50 pm
Class D Final - March 19 - 10 am