In Play with Tom Markowski


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Justin Turner scores 26, Renaissance leads from the start and defeats Edison, 63-53

By: Tom Markowski, December 12, 2015, 4:57 pm

Detroit – A wise coach will tell you that in mid-December it’s about effort, not about the score.

Detroit Renaissance defeated Detroit Edison 63-53 as part of the Horatio Williams Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Edison and both coaches came away with something positive.

At Renaissance (2-0) there is more stability than there is at this time of year than there is for coach Bo Nelly at Edison. Senior Justin Turner scored nine of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead Renaissance and senior Alaric (A.J.) Jackson added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Neely isn’t blessed many senior leaders. Ed Carter III is his only senior starter and he scored 17 but the Pioneers, one of the top teams in Class C, lacked cohesiveness. They played well in stretches but there was a 9:20 stretch in the second half where all Edison could muster was four points.

David DeJulius led Edison (2-1) with 19 points but he’s a sophomore who, like his teammates, lacked consistency.

Renaissance never trailed and led 29-23 at halftime. The Phoenix lost their edge to start the second half and a DeJulius 3-pointer cut the deficit to 35-34 with 4:58 left in the third.

Renaissance coach Vito Jordan switched from a man-to-man defense to a two-three zone and it confused the Pioneers. Over a seven-minute stretch Renaissance went on a 14-2 run to take a comfortable 49-36 with 5:46 left in the game. Neely called a timeout during the run but Edison had lost the momentum.

“We’re still playing like an inexperienced team,” Neely said. “We don’t realize the small details. We don’t know how to get the easy baskets. We played (Friday night) but these kids are young. That’s no excuse.

“What I can take away from this is I can teach my kids about details. They pounded us on the glass.”

And there’s no excuse for that either. Edison starts two tall post player in William Weems (6-8) and Deante Johnson (6-7). Octavius Green (6-4) and Dreyon O’Neal (6-5) also saw time as reserves.

Jordan liked the way his starters played, notably Turner and Jackson, but he’s intent on building depth, something Renaissance must have if it is to complete for the Detroit Public School League title in February.

“Our inexperience off the bench hurt us,” he said. “We got up 8-0 and I know what I’m getting from Justin and A.J. I’ve got to find out about the others.

“I went to the zone to see. Sometimes I like to see one time what they’ll do. I’m all about defense. We’ve got to hold people to 50 or under. These games (in December) I’m less worried about. At this time we have to show we can compete and listen.”