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Frazier’s 29 points leads Detroit Renaissance past rival King in key early season PSL matchup

By: Jeff Dullack, December 17, 2015, 9:20 pm

Detroit – During the past three years, the rivalry between Detroit King and Detroit Renaissance had been one-sided, with King winning each of the last five games by at least 18 points.

But entering this season, Renaissance targeted Thursday’s game against the Crusaders as one for the Phoenix to potentially snap its losing streak in the rivalry.

Despite falling behind 16-4 in the first four minutes, Renaissance responded to cut the deficit to just one point at halftime and clutch shooting late in the game helped earn the Phoenix a thrilling 68-65 win in a key early season PSL matchup.

Renaissance fourth year coach Kiwan Ward said that Thursday’s game was one that herself and her team, including fourth year varsity players, Siyeh Frazier and Jeorgia Jones had been waiting for since arriving at Renaissance.

“This has been a rivalry since the beginning of time,” she said. “This is four years in the making Siyeh and Jeorgia, we came in together, so we anticipated this game and we knew it was going to be a big game, so the intensity was there.”

With Renaissance (4-0) entering the fourth quarter with a 48-41 lead after back-to-back baskets in the final 20 seconds of the third quarter from Frazier, King quickly narrowed the lead down to just 52-51 following a 3-pointer Micaela Kelly, a basket from Alicia Norman and a pair of Tia Tedford free throws.

The two teams would then exchange baskets and free throws until a jumper from Tedford gave King a 62-61 with 2:15, but Renaissance would jump ahead 65-62 after a Nnenna Naji basket with less than 90 seconds left.

King (2-1) coach William Winfield said that he felt that as Thursday’s game went on his team started to get tired with a short rotation playing in a high-paced game.

“Truthfully, we were a little bit tired at the end,” he said. “We’ll be okay in January, but right now, we have to play basically five players and at the end, we got a little bit tired. I thought we played a good game, just got tired at the end.”

With 1:10 left to play, Renaissance sophomore Dalyn Henderson, knocked down a clutch 3-pointer to push the Phoenix lead to 68-62, all but sealing the win for the Phoenix.

Ward said she saw Henderson continue to improve since her freshman season and added that she gave her players the go-ahead to take 3-pointers against King if the defense allowed and that’s exactly what Henderson did.

“She’s a sophomore, last year she didn’t get a lot of playing time, but we talked about her improving,” she said. “And we’ve worked tremendously hard on 3-pointers and I told my girls if they (King) sag off (defensively), let it fly.”

In the first half, King sprinted out to a 16-4 lead after just over four minutes of play behind a pair of 3-pointers from Tedford and another from Kelly, but Renaissance would counter with a 16-0 run, highlighted by nine points from Frazier and seven points from Victoria Wright, that would hold King scoreless for over eight minutes to take a 20-16 lead just past the midway point of the second quarter.

“Stay focused,” Frazier said of overcoming the early 12-point deficit. “Just keep playing, don’t give up, it was too early to give up. Don’t give up until the game is over.”

Frazier scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help lead the way for Renaissance, while Wright and Nina Reynolds each added in 13 points in the win.

Frazier, who recently signed to play at Penn State, said that she was able to attack the basket and get to the free throw line with regularity against King on Thursday as she made nine of her 13 free throw attempts in the game.

“Attacking the basket,” she said. “Attacking them (King) and getting them to give me the call and send me to the line.”

King would take the lead back before half, behind eight straight points from Tedford to end the 16-0 run to give the Crusaders a 24-20 lead with 1:45 left in the second quarter, as they would carry a 29-28 lead into halftime.

Tedford led all scorers with 34 points on Thursday night, including six 3-pointers, to lead King, while Kelly and Norman also chipped in with 13 points each in the loss.