Godwin Heights starts fast, rolls past Henry Ford for first state championship
East Lansing – Godwin Heights had little trouble scoring the ball in the state tournament and while the Wolverines were making their first state finals appearance since 1960 on Saturday night, there was nothing that would slow them down.
Godwin Heights recorded 50 first half points as it ran out to a 21-point halftime lead and the Wolverines cruised to an 85-68 win, earning the first state championship in program history.
Godwin Heights coach Tyler Whittemore said that scoring 50 points in a half is nothing new to his team, but they had never done it against as quality of a team as Detroit Henry Ford, and also credited his team’s defensive success for getting the offense going.
“We’ve had games where we score over 50 in the first half, but never against a team of that caliber,” he said. “Detroit Henry Ford, a lot of credit goes to those guys, very quick, very athletic, they move and share the ball well. For them to come out and communicate on defense and really feed off their defense on the offensive end is what was very important. Getting stops on defense and then being confident with our shots.”
In the first quarter, Godwin Heights sprinted out to an early 20-8 lead and headed into the second quarter with a more than comfortable 25-12 lead behind eight first quarter points from Delaney Blaylock.
Blaylock said that he felt his team’s speed and relentless effort to push the ball up the court was key, and his team’s conditioning was key all season long to allow the Wolverine to do just that.
“We’re conditioned, so we can get up and down the floor, anything they throw at us, we can just go,” he said. “We’re conditioned for it and we’re ready for it.”
Throughout the entire first half, Godwin Heights was locked in from long range as the Wolverines were 8-of-11 in the first quarter from 3-point range and finished the game 10-for-15 shooting from beyond the arc.
“It’s very tough to guard because we have the ability to get to the basket,” Whittemore said. “So with the ability to knock down 3-pointers from the outside and to get to the basket, it’s very tough to guard.”
Henry Ford coach Ken Flowers said that he felt the difference in the game was Godwin Heights’ ability to knock down shots throughout the first half, and said he felt his team did an adequate job of trying to close out on shots, despite the success the Wolverines had.
“The way they shot the ball,” he said. “They didn’t miss. I thought we closed out well, but those guys shot the ball extremely well tonight.”
Henry Ford was led by 16 points from Western Michigan-commit Josh Davis and 15 points from James Towns.
In the second quarter, Godwin Heights continued its hot shooting, racking up 25 more points behind 12 points in the frame from freshman Lamar Norman as the Wolverines took a 50-29 lead at halftime.
Blaylock said that he was even a little surprised at how big of a lead his team built in the first half and added that he and his teammates knew they had to finish the game as well.
“I wasn’t really paying attention to the score, we were just playing,” he said. “I looked up at the score and I was just like wow, I couldn’t believe we were up this much, but I wasn’t satisfied. We had to keep going.”
Blaylock finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Norman registered 17 points on the night as five Godwin Heights players would score in double-figures.
“I don’t think anybody’s ever really concerned about their points,” said Whittemore of his team’s balance effort. “That’s something that we got out of in maybe week one or week two, we’re very unselfish, we’ve got to get the ball downhill. We have to understand that we need to go up strong or we need to knock down shots and everybody needs to be confident in the spots that they are and feed off each other.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Highlights from this game as well as the Class B Semifinal games can be seen on the State Champs! High School Sports Show Sunday morning at 9:00 am on Fox Sports Detroit