BOYS BASKETBALL: Detroit Allen Academy all alone in first place, with a 51-35 win over Detroit Community
HIGHLAND PARK – Even the brawl after the game couldn’t have put a damper on what Detroit Allen Academy had accomplished.
In front of a hostile crowd, the Wildcats improved to 11-1 and claimed first place in the Michigan Metro-Athletic Conference, with a 55-31 win over Detroit Community.
"This was a great win for us," said Allen Academy’s head coach Craig Covington. "It was on my basketball bucket list to win the league and tonight was a step towards winning our league."
The final score won’t show how close the game really was in the first half. The Wildcats came out the gates slow and trailed 11-8 after one.
Community (8-4), held a 20-19 lead with 1:54 left in the second, but a 6-0 run by Allen Academy gave them the lead for good. Sophomore Jason Williams hit four consecutive free throws and a buzzer-beating lay-up by Pakiya Ellis gave the 25-20 lead.
"This was the biggest game of the season for us," Ellis said. "We really needed this win."
Ellis came in averaging close to 30 points per game and although he finished with 17 points, he admitted that this wasn’t one of his best games.
"I played horrible tonight and couldn’t get any of my shots to fall," Ellis said. "But Jason Williams stepped up tonight and led us to victory."
Williams was huge for Allen Academy on both ends of the floor, in what was a huge second half for the Wildcats. Their lead gradually increased as the game went on, dominating both ends of the floor.
A bucket by Williams with 5:16 left in the game, made it 44-28 and Allen Academy showed no signs of letting up. They held Community to just 15 total points in the second half, on their way to victory.
"I think they might have scored just ten points in the second half," Covington said. "And that’s because of what we did defensively.
I realized that weren’t making a lot of jump shots, so I decided to go to a 2-3 zone. I hate playing the zone, but I said we’re going to play that 2-3 until they hit a jump shot."
Jalin Gardner, Community’s star guard, was held to just 12 points and senior Darryl Smith chipped in eight points.
Terrance Love had himself a night for Allen Academy, with six points and 21 rebounds, but Williams was the man of the hour. With Ellis not having his usual scoring night, he added a steady 17 points himself, to go along with five boards.
"Jason is honestly the heart of this team," Covington said. "The team goes as he goes and we off how he plays.
I truly believe I have one of the best points guards in the class of 2016."