BOYS BASKETBALL: Cassius Winston leads U-D Jesuit to its first regional title in 137 years, with a 52-51 thriller over Cass Tech
DETROIT – Most 16-year olds are hanging out with their friends, or playing video games. But not U-D Jesuit sophomore point guard Cassius Winston.
He already holds offers from Michigan State, Iowa State, Colorado, and several others. And most deem him as the best point guard in the state.
Winston stood at the free throw line with 0.05 seconds left in the game and knocked down two free throws;beating Cass Tech 52-51 and capturing the schools first regional title in 137 years of existence.
"This win is just another step," he said. "The seniors haven’t been here before, we made school history and now we are looking forward to keeping it moving."
Winston finished with a team-high 15 points and 6 assists. He played with poise throughout he game and hitting two free throws with thousands of fans screaming says a lot about his game.
"In practice we work on that all the time and coach always tells me to shoot it with confidence," said Winston. "I got to the free-throw line and I never thought about missing. When I shot them, I knew they were going in."
That game almost ended in Cass Tech moving on to the state quarterfinals, not in four seconds before Winston’s free throws. Cass Tech junior Rob Edwards played out of his mind against his former team, scoring 15 points off the bench.
The Technicians trailed for most of the second half, until Edwards showed why his mid-range game is so strong, tying the game at 44-44 with 3:58 to go.
With the game tied at 50-50, with just 6.4 seconds left on the clock, Edwards had the opportunity to be the hero against his old school. He stepped to the charity stripe and missed the first free-throw. His heart must have been pounding out of his chest, but still managed to sink the second, to give Cass Tech the 51-50 lead.
"Rob Edwards played a heck of a game," said U-D coach Pat Donnelly. "I feel bad for him missing that free-throw, but I told them if he makes the second one, we’re getting out and going."
Cassius (Winston) did exactly what he needed to do and it’s just a great win for U-D Jesuit."
The game remained close throughout, being tied after one quarter and Cass Tech holding a 28-27 advantage at the half.
The largest lead of the game was five, when senior Noah King hit two free throws to put them up 35-30 with 4:35 to go.
"It was a little close," said Donnelly. "You can see the sweat beating beating down off my forehead (he laughed). But I thought out guys showed a lot of resolve."
Noah (King) rebounded well and be blocked a couple of shots. He’s a senior leader and we expert great leadership out of him and that’s what he provided."
King (10 points, 6 rebounds) gets to continue his senior season, but for Cass Tech seniors like Kenny Carpenter, tonight was the end. Still Carpenter had a great showing with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals.
Carpenter hit a huge 3-pointer from the top of the key to out Cass Tech up 47-46 with 2:37 left. They were up 50-46 at one point but U-D refused to go away and managed to keep it close enough.
Parris Bennett tied it at 50-50 with 31.7 seconds left and after Edwards hit his free throws, it was Winston’s time to shine.
"Six seconds is plenty of time," he said. "We work on it in practice. I wanted to get down the court and make something happen."
I saw bodies down there and I wanted to get some contact and hit a foul."
While Winston was hitting his free throws, U-D Jesuit had six players on the floor, in-which technical should have been called. That’s a story for another day and as U-D will take on Romulus again on Tuesday March 18 at Calihan Hall.
The Cubs won the first meeting on February 25, 67-57.
"We are going to try and play them like we did last time," Winston said. "Get down on defense, limit their shots offensively and get out on the break."