In Play with Tom Markowski

Hazel Park starts fast, defeats Benton Harbor, 77-70; rebounds after loss to Clarkston

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

Grand Rapids – Like a shooter who missed the last 10 field goal tries, Hazel Park put the past behind itself after Tuesday’s lopsided loss to Clarkston and played true to form on Saturday.

Devin Pettus scored 27 points as Hazel Park started fast and held on to defeat Benton Harbor, 77-70, as part of the Union High Showcase in Grand Rapids.

Hazel Park (13-1), ranked No. 2 in the Super 10 in State Champs’ latest poll, hosted defending Class A champion Clarkston in an Oakland Activities Association Red Division game and laid an egg. The Vikings trailed 31-6 at the start and never recovered losing 70-39.

“We went to the gym (on Wednesday) and put the game behind us,” Pettus said. “We just had to stop their (winning) streak.”

Hazel Park rebounded with a 71-57 victory over Southfield for the Arts and Technology on Friday before making the three-hour drive to play the Tigers (14-1), which came in ranked No. 5 in the Super 10.

Hazel Park never trailed and led 22-12 after the first quarter. Pettus ended the quarter with a 3-pointer, Hazel Park’s fourth. Khari Adams’ basket gave the Vikings their largest lead, 30-20, with 1:16 left in the first half and Hazel Park settled for a 39-22 lead at halftime.

Pettus also ended the third with a 3-pointer as the Vikings maintained its 17-point lead (60-43).

“I loved the fact that we showed a lot of patience,” Hazel Park coach Brandon Barrett said. “I like the overall feel. We set the tempo. We set the pace. I like the growth we’re showing. To bounce back from a terrible game and two in a row says a lot.

“(Clarkston) was a bad game. We were just off that game. It happens. That loss was beneficial. It humbled us a little bit. Winning like we were winning, we were humbled.”

The Vikings were an unselfish team on Saturday. Barrett uses a three-guard system with Kyle Washington playing the four spot and Adams at the five. All five starters are seniors and when they clicked, especially in the first three quarters, the Vikings scored in bursts.

Adams, an athletic 6-6 post player, had 16 points including three dunks. All of his points came in the interior and half of his baskets came on slick passes from Pettus.

“We passed the ball today,” Pettus said. “We got everybody involved.”

Carl Bow chipped in with 14 points and David Hearns had eight.

For Benton Harbor Carlos Johnson had 21 points, Shawn Hopkins had 15 points and Devan Nichols had 11.

Johnson, a 6-6 post player who can also shoot from the perimeter, is one of the state’s top sophomores. Johnson was held to five points in the first half then turned his game up a notch in the final 16 minutes.