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Kailee Davis drops 34, as Renaissance rolls over Cass Tech for first PSL city title since ’11

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, February 14, 2020, 7:05 pm

DETROIT — They aren’t going to take the banner in the Detroit Renaissance gym down just yet to make renovations.

But it WILL be updated.

For the first time since back in the Asia Boyd days, in 2011, the Phoenix are the city champions of Detroit, dispatching Cass Tech, 81-55, in the Public School League tournament final at University of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall on Friday.

“I’ll tell you that I’m not even close to satisfied. This one is for them, this one isn’t for me. This one is for them — I want the states. That’s what I came here for, to win the states. I wanna win two straight state titles, and this is the start to it. I’m so happy for them, because they’ve been carrying this for so long. Everybody kept waiting for them to fall again. Now they get a chance to take a step toward being champs,” first-year coach Shane Lawal said. 

“This is just the start for us. We’ve got a long way to go. This is just the start.”

The loss snapped a 10-game win streak for the Technicians (15-2), whose only prior loss was a 53-47 setback to Davison at the Motor City Roundball Classic on Dec. 29. Cass had no answer for Renaissance junior Kailee Davis, who scored 34.

“She’s a problem. In my opinion, she’s the best junior in the State of Michigan. I think she’s the best guard in the State of Michigan, and I think she’s the best junior in the State of Michigan. She’s extremely underrated, and anybody that actually takes the time to watch her play, and don’t look at her size, will understand that she’s the best guard in the state,” Lawal said. “I’m just happy for her, because she’s carried this team for two years, and fell short a couple of times. Everybody’s trying to see how good she really is — all of them, really; how good they all are. It takes a lot of buy-in from the other kids for one kid to score 34.”

Renaissance (16-2) led from the jump, scoring the game’s first 11 points, and leading 24-16 after one quarter. 

“We just came out and said we know that we’ve got to play hard,” Davis said. “We’re playing to win a championship, we’re not playing because it’s the rivalry between Renaissance and Cass. We know that we should’ve had it the last two years, so we just wanted to come out and play hard.”

Cass Tech cut the Renaissance lead to four points, 31-27, with 2:18 left in the first half, but the Phoenix scored the final nine points of the first half to take their biggest lead of the game, 40-27, into the break. 

“I just told them, ‘It’s 0-0, man. We haven’t won anything yet,’” Lawal said. “We call our press ‘wreck,’ and I said ‘Give them the best three minutes of wreck that we’ve had all season,’ and that’s what they did.”

The Phoenix then came out of the locker room and scored the first seven points of the second half to stretch their lead to 20 points, 47-47 with 6:30 to go in the third, then Davis’ 3-pointer with 40 seconds left in the quarter pushed the lead over 30 points for the first time.

Davis his seven shots from behind the 3-point arc in the game. 

“In the beginning, I wasn’t really hitting them, so I just knew I had to keep shooting with confidence,” she said. 

Precious Fields scored the final five points of the third quarter, and 11 of 24 overall in the game, as Cass cut the lead back to 22 points, 72-50, with 4:16 left, but they couldn’t sustain it. 

Mikyah Finley had 15 and Taylor Anderson 14 for the Phoenix. Fields led Cass with 19 points. 

Renaissance will face Flint Carman-Ainsworth next Wednesday, then host the Operation Friendship game against the winner of the Catholic League’s Bishop Division on Feb. 27. The Technicians will face the CHSL runner-up. 

Friday’s win is merely a stepping stone to where the Phoenix want to be.

“The PSL, it doesn’t hit right if you try to win states without winning the PSL. The PSL is huge. We still have to go through Marian and Mercy. We still have to go through Southfield and Grosse Pointe South, Macomb Dakota, before we get to a team like East Grand Rapids or East Lansing,” Lawal said. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So this is just another bite toward what we need to do.”