BOYS BASKETBALL: Josh Jackson's explosive third quarter, helps Consortium get past Mt.Clemens, 67-60, in Class C quarterfinals
WEST BLOOMFIELD - The fire marshal probably wouldn't have approved of the Detroit Consortium and Mt.Clemens game, held at West Bloomfield High School. There was standing room only, with fans standing in the doorways trying to catch a glimpse of the game.
This game was months in the making and most felt the winner would go on to win the Class C state title. Well that very well maybe be Consortium, who came out victorious, 67-60.
"I told my guys that I'm just going to be honest with you," Consortium coach Tobias Tuomi said. "We are ten points better than these guys. We just have to go out there and play like it."
The first quarter set the tone for how close the game was going to be. Mt.Clemens held a four point lead after one at, 17-13, but Consortium would soon close the gap. Ironically, they used a 17-13 run to make it 30-30 at halftime, making for a great ending.
Mt.Clemens (24-2) junior guard Josh McFolley lead all scorers with 15 points, including three 3-pointers.
"I really felt that we were ten points better than them at the half," Tuomi said. "He (McFolley) got lose in the first half from defensive communications, we just needed to focus and communicate a little bit more."
With the game being tight as it was throughout the first half, the game might have been won by Consortium in the third;sophomore Josh Jackson specifically. Jackson exploded for 13 of his game-high 31 in the third, breaking the game open a bit.
Jackson banged in a 3-pointer first, then followed that up with two back-to-back dunks off the backboard to give them the 42-34 lead with 4:08 left on the clock. And he was done yet. His 3-point play with 2:25 left made it 46-34 Consortium, capping off the 16-4 run.
"Our intensity coming out of the second half was outstanding," Tuomi said. "We came out and said that we were going to trap everything and we got a couple of steals."
When he (Jackson) has the ball in his hands, good things are going to happen. He has a good sense of when we need him to score and when we needed him to be a distributor, but we needed him to score tonight."
Consortium (23-2) held a 50-40 lead heading into the fourth and could probably smell the victory. But Mt.Clemens had other plans. Jackson got called for his fourth foul in just six seconds into the fourth and when he had to sit, Mt.Clemens took advantage.
McFolley's steal and lay-up with 6:44 left made it 52-45, pulling the momentum over to their said. Not even a minute later, McFolley was at it again, completing a 3-point play to make it 52-50, forcing Consortium to call a timeout.
"It was gut-wrenching, but our kids never lost confidence," said Tuomi. "We've been there before, playing without him for stretches many times before."
I told him he was going to go back in around the five minute mark and it ended up being just that way. It was close so I really didn't have a choice at that point."
The Battling Bathers fought until the very end, but couldn't capitalize on opportunities late in the game. Freshman Jermaine Jackson Jr., missed two free throws that would have gotten them a little closer and their scorers went cold down the stretch.
"Basketball is a game of runs and they made runs," said Mt.Clemens coach Jermaine Jackson Sr. "They made championship plays at the end."
I love our kids, they did great and right now it's time for us to make a decision to possibly move on from here."
Not sure what Jackson meant by that, but either way he has done great things at Mt.Clemens in his short time there, compiling a 48-3 record. McFolley finished with a team-high 26 points and Charles Penn added 12.
Senior Ronald Booth scored 13 points, while Rudy Smith and Luster Johnson both chipped in 6.
Consortium will now go on to face Negaunee at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Thursday, in the state semifinals. The Cougars are two wins away from capturing the school's first basketball state title.