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Renaissance ends Western’s 31-game winning streak, takes first round in what should be a competitive PSL season

By: Tom Markowski, January 5, 2016, 8:25 pm



Detroit – The state’s longest winning streak ended on Tuesday and another streak continues.

Detroit Renaissance shut down Detroit Western’s best player, limiting Brailen Neely to seven points, all in the first half, as the Phoenix defeated Western 48-39 in the Detroit Public School League Division 1 West opener for both teams at Renaissance.

No. 2-ranked Western (5-1), the defending Class A and PSL champion, had won 31 straight.

Renaissance (5-0), ranked No. 4, has yet to lose at home during the regular season in Vito Jordan’s three seasons as head coach. Renaissance did lose at home to U-D Jesuit in a district game last season.

Renaissance led 12-0 and never trailed.

The Phoenix led 21-17 at halftime as both teams shot miserably in the second quarter. Renaissance was 1-of-8 from the field; Western 1-14. The Phoenix went on a 13-2 run to forge their largest lead, 36-23, with 1:47 left in the third quarter. Armani Tinsley scored four of his team’s six points as the Cowboys pulled within 36-29 at the end of the quarter.

Western never got closer.

Senior Richard Talley led Renaissance with 14 points and his defensive work defending Neely was even more important. Western coach Derrick McDowell said before the game that his senior guard was the only player who had played with any type of consistency through December. And in this game even Neely took a step back.

“I just played him solid,” Talley said. “I ran him off the line.”

Talley downplayed the important saying “it was just a game”.

To his teammate, fellow senior Justin Turner, it was more than that.

“We knew (this game) was important,” he said. “Being 31-0, it caught our attention. We still have a name in this league. Our coach have us hang our hats on defense. I wouldn’t say this was revenge but we did punch them in the mouth.”

Twice Western defeated Renaissance last season including a one-point victory in the PSL final.

Jordan experimented with a zone defense in December and estimated he used it half the game against Western. Western’s poor perimeter shooting gave Jordan a nudge.

“I don’t like to use it,” he said. “(Today) it was effort and a good attitude. If we bring both consistently we’re pretty good.

“And Talley? If you have a toughness category he’s all over the stat sheet.”

Turner added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen Tobias had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

For Western Karim Murray had 13 points.

Renaissance committed more turnovers (21-12) but Western couldn’t turn those into points. The Cowboys were a paltry 13-of-58 (22.4 percent) from the field.

McDowell said the poor shooting contributed to his team not playing well defensively.

“We knew their game plan was to take Brailen out of the game,” he said. “I told them this could be the end of their season. It’s up to you. Our focus hadn’t been there the last week. We haven’t had energy for a while.”

There’s little time to lick its wounds. Western plays at Detroit Cass Tech on Friday.