BOYS BASKETBALL: Pershing repeats as PSL champs, with a 57-56 come from behind win over Southeastern
DETROIT – Southeastern was on its way to its second PSL title in four years, clinging on to a 51-42 lead, with 2:44 remaining. The Jungaleers completely dominated Pershing that point, until they fail to the Doughboys, 57-56, in overtime.
First senior Darryl Bingham fouled out with 2:34 left in the game, finishing with just 3 points and 9 rebounds. Then Pershing went on its run.
Mr.PSL for Pershing, Justin Tillman didn’t have his strongest game, with 8 points, but his teammates stepped up in his place. Senior forward Kam Barden pulled them within five, at 51-46, with 2:19 left, with two of his 12 points.
"Everybody on the team has to step up at some time," he said. "And today was my turn."
Pershing finished the final 1:07 of the game on a 6-1 run, when Marquel Ingram went 4-4 at the charity stripe bad Mory Diane (15 points) tied the game at 52-52, with a sweet jumper in the lane.
"I just told my guys to keep playing and fight," coach Wydell Henry said. "We were down big and I just told my guys everyone has to check and leave it all on the floor."
Pershing (18-2) didn’t particularly shoot the ball well at all on the night and trailed by as much as 14 on night on the second half. Leonard Harper-Baker was named to the first team all-city team earlier this week and played like it, with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks. Still his effort wasn’t enough to propel his team to victory.
"We panicked you know and there is nothing else to say," coach George Ward said. "Pershing did a great job. They fought, they clawed and they did some good things to win a basketball game."
"We dominated the game and I’m not going to sit here and say we didn’t expect to. If this had been a half court game, I’d take my kids over anybody’s."
Pershing scored two consecutive buckets in overtime and took a 56-52 lead on a dunk by Tillman with 3:08 left. Both teams missed crucial free throws down the stretch, but sophomore Ean Blackwell getting trapped in the backcourt as time expired, prevented them from sweeping the series.
Southeastern (13-7) held on to an 82-79 win over Pershing back on January 31, after having them down again by double-digits. But Pershing basketball seems to thrive when in the spotlight and can never be counted out.
"We let the last game slip away, but this time this guys didn’t want to lose this game," Henry said. "We take pride in representing the city and this might be our last time playing in the DPS league."
That decision has yet to be seen, but for now the Pershing Doughboys are back-to-back city champions and now look to make a deep run in the state playoffs.
"This win means a lot for us," Barden said. "It’s our second one as seniors and now we can worry about winning states now."
Southeastern has nothing to hang its head on, after starting the season off 0-5 to being just minutes away from winning their league. The Jungaleers made it all the way to the Class A title game last year and will be a forced to be reckoned with in the playoffs this season.
"At the end of the day, the right team won the city championship," Ward said. "We have bigger fish to fry. Can’t worry about this one."