• Michigan

Deep Cass Tech shoots its way past Detroit Renaissance for second PSL city title in three seasons

By: Matthew B. Mowery, February 16, 2019, 12:10 am

DETROIT — Good things happen when you wait your turn.

A year after their season was undercut by parental issues, and petty jealousies, the Detroit Cass Tech Technicians have a team much more like their 2017 squad that won the program’s first Public School League title in 19 seasons.

One that’s built on guys who were selfless enough to wait their turn.

That’s paid off with a team that truly goes 14 players deep, one with enough weapons to outshoot almost anyone, as the Technicians showed in Friday’s PSL title game, an 80-56 demolition of Detroit Renaissance that clinched a second PSL city title in three seasons.

“They’re similar. The team in between was the one that was different. That team had four seniors. This team is senior-heavy. They all waited their turn. All these kids, except one, played at least one year of JV, and all these kids except two played two years of JV. A lot of them didn’t play a lot last year. But it just speaks to trusting the process, and waiting for your turn. It’s a lot art. No one trusts the process anymore. I have a team full of guys that have, and when you do that, you’re able to have great things happen for you,” Cass Tech coach Steven Hall said.

“Last year, we were ranked No. 1 in the state, and we had a lot of internal issues. A lot of parental issues, jealousy and envy. So we kind of wanted the bulls-eye this year. We dropped two games, basically at the buzzer. We always had illusions of doing great things this year — it’s not over but this is something that we select to be a goal, and it does mean a lot.”

Friday’s city title was the sixth for Cass Tech — 1975, 1977, 1993, 1998, 2017 and now 2019.

“It feels real great, being the city champion in the PSL, one of the hardest leagues in the city,” said Kalil Whitehead, who had 19 points and seven rebounds for Cass Tech. “Moving forward, we’re just building on it, trying to win a state championship now.”

Cass Tech (14-5) also got 20 points from Michael Washington-Hill, and had 10 different players score.

“Man, we’re deep. Everybody on the team can play, and play at the next level,” said Daniel Autrey, who had 15 points off the bench, all on 3-pointers. “We’re all D-I players, in my eyes. We all can play, all could start on any team in the state.”

One of those seniors who waited his turn, Autrey nailed one 3-pointer in the first quarter, helping Cass Tech out to a 21-12 lead, then hit three more 3s in the second quarter, as the Technicians stretched the lead out to 41-22.

Was he feeling it?

“I felt it. I feel it all the time, for me,” he laughed. “I like it.”

His teammates agree.

“Daniel’s always on. He’s our best shooter — best shooter in the state. It’s always a good game when Dan’s shooting like that,” Whitehead said. “Our whole bench — we’re a team, one through 14. There’s no bench players. We’re all one team.”

The bench depth is emblematic of the type of team the Technicians are, as well.

“This group has been together — this is a home-grown team. They’ve been together for four years. They won a JV championship together. They won a couple cross-country championships together. Those who stay will be champions. That’s our motto,” Hall said. “A lot of times, kids go for greener pastures, nowadays. Last year, we had some selfishness, some jealousy, and some issues with parents. It devastated our teams. This group was together for four years, they were selfless. You talk about a kid like Daniel, who didn’t play much last year. He waited his turn. He started a lot of the season, and when he was called on, he stepped up.”

Renaissance got the margin back down to 15 on a couple of different occasions in the second half, but couldn’t get closer.

Named Mr. PSL before the game, Chandler Turner had 17 points to lead the Phoenix (15-4), while Kaylein Marzete had 13.