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East English overcomes 19-point deficit to defeat Henry Ford, 72-65, in OT

By: Jeff Dullack, February 11, 2015, 11:00 pm

Detroit – Midway through the third quarter against East English Village Prep, it looked as if Detroit Henry Ford would be the team moving on to Detroit Public School League semifinals.

Instead, the Bulldogs chewed their way through a 19-point deficit, to win 72-65 in overtime in a PSL quarterfinal at Detroit Renaissance on Wednesday.

The teams played seven days ago and East English won by nine. To beat a league rival twice in one week isn’t easy.

East English (13-3) will play Renaissance (10-7) in a PSL semifinal Friday at Detroit Cass Tech at 7 p.m.

"Henry Ford and coach (Ken) Flowers did a good job of getting ready for us," East English coach Juan Rickman said. "We beat them last week and it’s hard to beat a team twice. They knew a lot of our offense and my guys ran it like robots. We stopped playing together for a minute in the third."

Henry Ford (12-5) came out storming in the second half. The Trojans went on a 16-0 run to take a 44-25 lead with 5:04 left. East English never wavered and went on a run of its own to cut the lead to nine after three.

East English scored 106 points in one game this season so it seemed only a matter of time before its offense would get into gear.

"We always say, if we score 75 points, we are going to win," Rickman said. "We didn’t make them earn points at first, but we started to make them earn them, and the game started to get dictated by our style with them playing fast."

The fastest player on the floor may have been East English junior Chris Rollins. He scored 21 points and was vital during the comeback as he scored nine in the fourth. He made a 3-pointer to cut Henry Ford’s lead to two and Lamar Neely’s basket tied the game at 54-54 with 5:33 remaining.

"We came out the half lazy, but we’re a team, and we stay together," Rollins said. "I knew we were going to come back and win it. I know my team and I just had to make shots in the fourth quarter. I’m just trying to win this championship, and we have the talent to do so."

East English took a 66-61 lead to start the overtime period and Ford never recovered. Jaylin McFadden chipped in 17 points for the Bulldogs and James Towns led Henry Ford with 16.

"We only beat them by two earlier this season," Rollins said. "Coming out slow has been our downfall this year, so we have to do better in our preparation for these games."