Detroit Western outlasts Chicago Bogan, 65-60, behind 10 points in final three minutes from NeelyBasketball  |
Detroit – By opening the season on Monday against Chicago Bogan, Detroit Western coach Derrick McDowell knew that he would have a different team than the one that finished 26-0 last season and won the Class A state championship. The Cowboys have plenty of experience on this year’s team but there are always concerns.
That experience was on full display against Bogan.
Western got off to a good start and led by 11 at halftime. Bogan came back to take a 53-50 lead and that's when one of those veteran players stepped up. early in the fourth quarter, Senior point guard Brailen Neely scored 10 points in the final three minutes to lead Western to a 65-60 victory over Bogan as part of the DC Elite Tip-Off Classic at Calihan Hall.
Despite a lack of depth at this point in the season, McDowell said he was pleased with how the Cowboys played down the stretch to hold off a Bogan team that won the Chicago City Championship last season.
“I know we can be good, but how good can we be? I don’t know yet,” he said. “But I don’t think we’re the 26-0 team, because we’re not as deep and so we have to adjust the style that we play. We have to pick and choose when we want to rev it up a bit, but as you can see, we only used seven guys today. I don’t know how good Bogan is, but when you win a championship, you have to have some good players.
“We were throwing the ball around early, we came out in the second half and were throwing it around again and they (Bogan) made some big shots and we answered with some big shots and I think our poise took over from there, being in a lot of close games last year. We didn’t panic and we closed the game out the way we should have.”
After Bogan took its first lead of the game with 6:53 left in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer from
Nathan Townsen Jr., both teams would exchange field goals, until an Armani Tinsley 3-pointer with 3:02 left gave the Cowboys the lead back with three minutes remaining.
From there, Neely took over.
Neely would record a 3-pointer and another jumper on back-to-back possessions to push the Western lead to 60-56 with under two minutes left.
The senior point guard said that with this being his senior year, he does feel like he needs to step up in big spots late in games, but added that he doesn’t have to score the ball, but also distribute and make sure things are run smoothly offensively as well.
“I play that role with the team, but it’s also running the team and running sets,” he said. “Making sure we just get a bucket period, not just me.”
Then, with less than a minute left to play, Neely would make five out of six free throw attempts to ice the game away and seal the win for Western.
“It’s great to go into a season with that momentum,” said Neely. “I think going through the season, we just expect to win.”
Neely finished with a team-high 17 points, while Tinsley chipped in with 14 points on the night.
McDowell said he was pleased with the balanced attack from his starting group as four of the five starters for Western scored in double figures on the night.
“Out of the seven guys we played, five of them all started at some point last year,” he said. “Brailen, Karim, Armani have all been starting since their freshman year, so I expect that from them. Brailen and Armani are going to score for us, Kareem is going to score between 12-15 points and do all the other stuff and then Josh (Long) and Jaye (Patrick) will clean up what’s left.
Bogan’s Marcus Cole led all scorers on Monday night with a game-high 18 points in the loss.