In Play with Tom Markowski


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Friends, peers, Derrick McDowell and Ken Flowers to coach different teams in the semifinals on Friday

By: Tom Markowski, March 25, 2015, 7:00 pm


Detroit – Detroit Redford closed in June of 2007 and there will be a reunion of sorts on Friday at the Breslin Center when Detroit Western plays U-D Jesuit in a Class A semifinal at 2:50 p.m. and that evening when Detroit Henry Ford plays Cadillac in a Class B semifinal at approximately 7:50.

It will be the first state semifinal for both Western and Henry Ford.

Western coach Derrick McDowell and Henry Ford coach Ken Flowers both coached at Redford. This synergy goes back to the late 1990s when Flowers played for McDowell at Redford.

The late 2000s were difficult times, financially and in other ways. During this time many school closings took place in urban areas and we lost schools like Redford, Detroit Mackenzie, Flint Central, Detroit Cooley and others.

Redford was never a basketball power until McDowell got there. In the 1992-93 season Redford didn’t win a game. It took McDowell to build a program and in ’96, Flowers’ senior year, Redford played Detroit Pershing and Mr. Basketball winner Winfred Walton for the Detroit Public School League title.

In ’02 Redford reached a state final (Class A) for the first time.

Flowers continued his playing career at a junior college in California before transferring to Concordia College in Ann Arbor.

After college Flowers came back home and was a volunteer assistant at Redford in ’03 and the next season he became the junior varsity head coach. The ’03 was another cornerstone. That year Dion Harris was named Mr. Basketball becoming the first player from Redford to win the award[T1] .

McDowell left Redford after the ’05 season and Flowers took over.

Flowers picked up where McDowell left off winning the school’s second consecutive PSL title and reaching the Class A semifinals.

In ’07 Redford had its best season. The Huskies won their third consecutive PSL title, another Harris (no relation), Corperryale Harris, better known as Manny, won Mr. Basketball and Redford made it to the Class A final where it lost to Draymond Green and Saginaw.

Then the bottom dropped out. Flowers landed at Henry Ford and has been there ever since.

McDowell returned to the PSL after a college coaching stint and gave life to another dormant program, Western.

Now they’re coaching in the state semifinals on the same day.

In the quarterfinals Western defeated Ypsilanti, 58-37, and Henry Ford got past New Haven, xx-xx.

“Coming back to Redford was like fate,” Flowers said. “When I got there they had the same administrators, the same coaches, same teachers when I went to school there.

“Derrick taught me discipline, and how to hold kids accountable, holding study tables. I teach and coach like that.

“I told the guys at practice (on Wednesday) we’re going up there early on Friday to support my mentor.

“Derrick and I talked at least once a week. We talked a lot this morning. I laughed with him. I told him we’re even. Since he got to Western I won two and he’s won two.”

All games are at the Breslin Center

Thursday’s games

Class C

Boyne City (21-5) vs. Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (20-5), 1: NorthPointe coach Jared Redell is making his first trip to the Breslin. Should he seek some help in dealing with the surroundings he could call his brother, Mike, who was the starting point guard on the Rockford team that went 28-0 and won the 2003 Class A title. On the surface it looks like NorthPointe should win this one without much difficulty. It played a more adventurous regular season schedule including games against Class B Holland Christian, Class A Grand Rapids Northview and two against Godwin Heights, a team that could win the Class title. But Boyne City just knocked off two teams ranked in the top 10 (Iron Mountain and McBain). Pick: NorthPointe by 6.


Flint Beecher (24-1) vs. Hanover-Horton (24-1), 2:50: Beecher’s lone loss was to Class B semifinalist Detroit Henry Ford, 54-51. Beecher has won 17 straight since and its closest game in the tournament was a 78-60 victory over Southfield Christian. It’s been a quite different scenario for Hanover-Horton. The Comets have had two tournament games decided by two points and three of its tournament opponents were ranked in the top 10. Beecher will have its hands full. Pick: Beecher by 3.


Class D


Morenci (23-2) vs. Waterford Lakes (25-0), 6: Like Detroit Western, No. 2-ranked Lakes has not had a particularly tough road to traverse to reach the semifinals. In its last four games Lakes’ closest game was in the quarterfinals, a 48-30 victory over Genesee Christian. Unranked Morenci has been tested in the tournament but none of its opponents were ranked in the top 10. Pick: Lakes by 9.

Fulton (21-4) vs. Powers North Central (25-0), 7:50. How different this bracket has been. North Central has played three state-ranked teams in the tournament; Fulton two. Fulton’s last two games have gone to overtime, 64-60 over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and 72-67 over Frankfort. North Central has been the team that’s shown more might in March. Pick: North Central by 6.

Friday’s games

Class A

Lansing Everett (24-2) vs. Saginaw Arthur Hill (23-3), 1: Everett coach Desmond Ferguson prepared his Vikings well for Muskegon on Tuesday. He went to a zone in the second half to clog the middle and limit the touches for 6-10 Deyonta Davis. Ferguson also keyed on Joeviair Kennedy whom Ferguson said was his concern entering the game, not Davis. Now Ferguson turns his attention to another (Eric) Davis. This Davis is more versatile than the one from Muskegon. Arthur Hill also has one of the state’s top sophomores in 6-7 Brian Bowen. Everett counters with 6-8 Trevor Manuel who played like a Mr. Basketball finalist against Muskegon finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Arthur Hill by 2. 


Detroit Western (24-0) vs. U-D Jesuit (22-4), 2:50: Western beat U-D 58-49 in Operation Friendship (city championship) on March 7. That game can only help U-D, which is making its second consecutive semifinal appearance. The Cubs now know what to expect from Western. U-D’s Cassius Winston has the knack, and the ability, to take over a big game, as he did Tuesday. But Western has better depth and its top post player, Gerald Blackshear, has more experience any player U-D coach Pat Donnelly places in the paint. Pick: Western by 7.


Class B

Milan (24-2) vs. Wyoming Godwin Heights (24-1), 6: No. 1-ranked and defending champion Milan against No. 2-ranked Godwin Heights. This is a game that should have the Breslin Center rocking. Nick Perkins, a 6-7 forward who can step out and shoot the 3-pointer, will give the Wolverines problems. Godwin Heights will counter with full-court pressure and if Milan point guard Latin Davis can handle it the Big Reds should play for another title. Pick: Milan by 4.

Cadillac (18-8) vs. Detroit Henry Ford (20-5), 7:50: Cadillac came out of the weakest bracket of the four. It’s likely not ready for the full-court pressure Henry Ford likes to apply. The Breslin Center crowd will get their first look at one of the top players from Detroit and that’s Josh Davis who signed with Western Michigan. Pick: Henry Ford by 9.  


Quarterfinal record: 11-5