Destiny Pitts scores 16 in the second quarter, makes a key 3-pointer late and Country Day downs Southfield-Lathrup 56-52
Lathrup Village – Destiny Pitts’ 16 points in the second quarter set the tone for Detroit Country Day and Southfield-Lathrup was forced to play from behind in the second half.
Country Day led 35-27 at halftime and the Yellowjackets took their largest lead, 46-34, after a Kayla Webb basket with three minutes left in the third. Three times the Chargers tied the game in the fourth and it was Pitts who made the shot that loomed large.
Pitts’ 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining snapped a 51-51 tie and Country Day (14-1), ranked No. 1 in Class B, held on to defeat host Southfield-Lathrup 56-52 in a late-season game that matched two of the state’s heavyweights.
A Kehinde Bello free throw with 33.4 seconds left brought the Chargers within two points but Country Day was able to hold the ball until the Chargers fouled Webb with 7.4 seconds left. The sophomore made both free throws to hold off the Chargers.
Deja Church, who like Pitts, is one of the state’s top juniors, had 29 points to lead Southfield-Lathrup (11-3). It was Church’s basket with 1:49 left that tied the game for the last time at 51-51.
“We tried to contain Deja,” Country Day coach Frank Orlando said. “There’s no stopping her. She’s like LeBron (James) out there.
“We just wanted to start playing in that second quarter. The energy was there. (Our) quickness eventually helped us. We didn’t play perfect. It took courage.”
Southfield-Lathrup is ranked No. 2 in Class A behind Saginaw Heritage, the only team to beat Country Day. The Chargers led 13-3 sin minutes in and led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter as Webb’s 3-pointer with three seconds left kept the Yellowjackets close.
Pitts, a 6-foot guard-forward, took over the game in the second. She scored her team’s first 10 points as the Yellowjackets took a 21-19 lead. She scored her team’s final four points and Country Day led 35-25 before Antoinette Miller made two free throws to close the gap.
The Chargers were often sloppy with the ball-handling and decision-making. They committed seven turnovers in each of the first two quarters before they cleaned up their act in the fourth.
“We allowed ourselves to turn the ball over too many times,” Southfield-Lathrup coach Michele Marshall said. “We can’t turn it over like that. Our twins are a big part of our team but they couldn’t play today.”
Marshall’s reference was to Kehinde and Taiye Bello, 6-3 senior twins. Both start and both were in foul trouble. Taiye fouled out with 17.5 seconds left and Kehinde picked up her fourth foul 53 seconds into the second half.
Pitts led Country Day with 23 points and five rebounds. Webb had 12 points and Jasmine Powell had seven points and seven rebounds in a reserve role, and Tylar Bennett, a 6-3 junior, had four rebounds, two points and two blocks but she was instrumental in neutralizing the Bellos.
“I was really proud of Tylar,” Orlando said. “It doesn’t show up in the scorebook but we’d be hurting without her.”