BASKETBALL: Detroit Pershing Outlasts Detroit Consortium 72-69, In A Nail Biter
DETROIT – When Detroit Pershing and Detroit Consortium get together, they do more than just bring the whole city out. They actually give you a game that makes the $10 you spent to get in worth it.
In last year’s game, Pershing edged Consortium 74-73, in a drama-filled game that came down to the last shot.
The same storyline played out in tonight’s game, as a last second attempt by sophomore Keyon Rainey fell short and Pershing escaped with a 72-69 win.
"Games like these are the games that you try to take something from," said Pershing head coach Wydell Henry. "You to to learn from things and get better."
Pershing (5-1) jumped off to an early 10-3 lead bad looked as if it would run Consortium out the gym. And to add fuel to the fire, top-ranked sophomore Josh Jackson racked up two early fouls, forcing him to sit out the rest of the quarter.
But even without their best player, Consortium kept the game close and only trailed 31-29 at the half.
"I wanted to see fun and everyone here wanted to see some fun," Henry said. "Josh Jackson’s a bad player and everyone wanted to see him go up against Justin (Tillman)."
The two stars didn’t disappoint either, as Josh Jackson led all scorers with 26 points and Tillman finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
Down 50-43 with 4:12 left in the third, Jackson reeled off seven straight points, to tie things up at 50-50 with 3:00 left in the third. Pershing showed signs of bending, but never broke, closing the third out on a 12-2 run to push their lead back to twelve.
"Josh Jackson’s a bad player," Wydell said "I didn’t want to box-and-one him, just play man-to-man defense him with my hard nosed defense."
Pershing had several chances of pulling away from Consortium, but Jackson and his teammates just refused to go away. Jackson tied the game at 64-64 with 3:11 remaining but missed the free throw that would have put them ahead.
Jackson fouled out exactly two minutes later, after being called for a charger. Oddly the gym started to empty as soon as he sat down, but the game was still close at 68-66.
Pershing missed some crucial free towards the end, that allowed Consortium (5-1) to stay in the game. Darsean Woodson, Marquel Ingram and Tillman all missed important free throws, which Henry said was out of character for them.
"You have to be mentally tough and make free throws to win championships," he said. "That’s how we lost last year, but we’re going to run. We’re going to pay for it."
An unlikely hero at the end was freshman point guard Armonee Felder. Felder has been earning his minutes and has performed well under pressure for someone his age.
After Rudy Smith missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it, Felder grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He sank two free throws with 25.8 left to put Pershing up 71-66.
Luster Johnson (19 points) answered with a 3-pointer to make the score 71-69, but Consortium could never surpass Pershing on the scoreboard, falling 72-69.
Mory Diane came up big with 16 points for Pershing, while Felder finished with three points.
"If I want to be the best point guard in the state, I have to make those," Felder said. "But I work on that, so it’s easy."