BOYS BASKETBALL: Southeastern shakes off a slow start to get past Grosse Pointe North, 55-37
GROSSE POINTE – Southeastern head coach George Ward said he would have gotten fired had he went into the locker room at halftime. His team only led 16-14 and played some of his its worst half of basketball of the season, but managed to escape with the 55-37 victory.
"They didn’t need to see me at all," he said. "I wasn’t too happy with our play and they knew that.
"Mentally we weren’t ready to play and it’s nothing else to it. You have to be prepared mentally to play."
Grosse Pointe North (4-17) also played a part in how close the game was in the first half. The Norsemen didn’t play their best offense, but holding the Jungaleers to 16 points in a half was quite an accomplishment.
"You have to give these guys their credit," Ward said. "They came out on their home floor and played with pride. The coaches did a good job and they played hard, so what are you going to do."
Southeastern (12-7) has two of the better big men in the state in seniors Daryl Bingham and Leonard-Harper Baker. But Grosse Pointe North 6-7 forward Justin Kennedy held his own against those two. Kennedy’s basket with 4:37 left in the third made it 24-22 Southeastern, keeping the Norsemen in the game.
Kennedy finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.
"When you come out not ready, you will be in for a basketball," said Ward. "You can’t think that you’re only going to get up when you play Pershing, Ypsilanti or Fredrick Douglass, you have to be ready to play everybody, especially right now."
Bingham started off slow in the first half just like his team, with just 4 points but picked it up in the second. Southeastern 11-5 run to close the half, sparked by Bingham’s play. He finished with a game-high 18 points and 9 rebounds.
"When Daryl is mentally engaged, it’s not too much a high school kid can do with him," said Ward. "Today he was a little bit anxious, but I knew he’d get it going in the second half."
Grosse Pointe North still had some fight in them late in the fourth. Senior guard Ricky Watson’s basket with 4:31 left made it 41-34, then a three by Sal Ciaravino cut the lead to 43-37 with 3:22 left. But Southeastern went on a 4-0 to push the lead back to 10 and move on to the district finals Friday.
Harper-Baker had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Southeastern, while Anthony Randall chipped in 10 off the bench. Watson scored 11 for Grosse Pointe North off their bench.
Southeastern will now play PSL foe, East English Village Prep for the district title. The Bulldogs took care of Grosse Pointe South in the early game, 76-58, led by Mar’Qywell Jackson’s 21 points.
"I didn’t want to see them again, but we know each other very well and it’s going to be a great basketball game I’ll tell you that," said Ward.