BOYS BASKETBALL: Cass Tech stuns Pershing in district final rematch, 78-73
DETROIT – The late rapper Tupac Shakur said revenge is the sweetest joy;well something like that. But for Cass Tech, tonight’s 78-73 win over league rival Pershing was a year in the making.
Pershing sent Cass Tech home packing in last year’s district finals at Detroit Western, on a 3-pointer by Martez Walker at buzzer.
"I think we learned a lot from last year," said head coach Dave Dixon. "They were hurt, even though they were juniors, they were hurt very bad. So I knew that we would have a little more resiliency and I’m just proud of the way they played."
Pershing led after one, 16-14, after seniors Darsean Woodson and Justin Tillman hooked up for a half court alley-hoop. The crowd really got into the game after one quarter and it had that feel of another last second thriller.
The Technicians had other plans though, as they really turned it up on Pershing in the second. They led 20-18 with 5:19 left before the half, then went on an 11-5 run to go up eight, at 31-23. They would eventually go into the half up ten, 38-28.
"We said we couldn’t relax," said senior Kenny Carpenter. "In the locker room we said we were down ten, so we tried to come out like we were down ten. We came out a little slow, but we got the job done."
Carpenter filled the stat-sheet tonight, scoring 18 points, to go along with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks, leading his team to victory.
Junior Rob Edwards also got in on the action and really helped Cass Tech put the game away in the third. Edwards scored seven points in the third including four in a row to make it 47-35 Cass Tech, with 4:53 left on the clock. Edwards also passed the ball well, hitting Sharif Black for a wide open 3-pointer that gave give a 50-35 lead, stunning the crowd. Edwards had a game-high 19 off the bench.
"I had to do what I had to coming off the bench," Edwards said. "It was my responsibility to play well or we were going to lose. I don’t make why I’m coming off the bench (he laughed) but either way it goes, I’m going to come in and do me."
The Doughboys were no strangers to being down by double-digits, in fact they were down 14 to Southeastern in the city title game, but still came back to win it all.
"You can’t keep getting in a hole, especially in March," said Pershing coach Wydell Henry. "I told them just to keep fighting, because we’ve been here before, but today it just caught up with us."
Down 13 after three, Pershing still played their brand of basketball and still had a run in them left. They cut the lead to 66-59 on a jumper by Mory Diane and then junior Marquel Ingram banged in a 3-pointer to make it 67-62 with 5:27 to go.
Cass Tech went 74-70 with under a minute to go, but senior Darsean Woodson wasn’t ready to end his career just yet with 46.9 left, he hit a 3-pointer of his own to make it 74-73, the closet the game got since the first quarter.
But Cass Tech would close the game out strong, hitting their free throws and Edwards icing it with another one of his sweet mid-range jumpers.
"I was thinking I got to hit it, or we might lose," he said. "I play AAU with all those guys, so it was tough, but real easy. It feel like we just won the state championship."
Diane led Pershing in scoring with 20 points, while Tillman finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Sharif Black added 16 for the Technicians.
"I think we deserved this one and the kids deserved it," Dixon said. "They executed the game-plan and closed it out, so they deserve it."