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King comes back to defeat Northwestern, 47-44, and will play Cass Tech in Saturday’s final

By: Tom Markowski, February 14, 2017, 9:24 pm


Detroit – Just like football.

Detroit Cass Tech and Detroit King have been the dominant teams in Detroit, and two of the state’s best recently in football. On Saturday these rivals will play for the Detroit Public School League boys basketball title.

King helped make history as it came from eight points down to defeat Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern, 47-44, in the second semifinal on Tuesday at Detroit Renaissance.

Cass Tech upset defending champion Detroit East English Village Prep, 73-71, in the first semifinal.

Cass Tech (13-4) and King (13-4), both unranked, will play for the title on Saturday at Calihan Hall at 7 p.m. The schools have never played each other in the boys final.

King last played in the PSL final in 2-12 when it defeated Detroit Pershing, 76-69.

“It’s Michigan versus Ohio State,” King coach George Ward said. “When you look at football, they are two of the best teams in the country and are just a few miles apart. King and Cass is everything. If you have a better rivalry in the state I want to see it.”

Northwestern (13-4), ranked No. 5 in Class B, led 30-24 at halftime and 41-38 at the end of three quarters.

Steve Pearson’s 3-pointer gave Northwestern its last lead of the game, 44-42, with 6:06 left. The Colts would not score another point.

Jesse Scarber, a senior guard and King’s best player, had a steal and a layup to tie the game at 44-44 with 5:05 remaining.

Jordan Whitford’s basket with 1:38 left gave King a 46-44 lead and his steal and a defensive rebound helped the Crusaders hold off the Colts.

Scarber scored 15 points and Whitford had five. For Northwestern Pearson, a freshman, had 14 points and Kylar Shipp added 12.

“We try to play traditional basketball,” Ward said. “We have guys who are 6-8, 6-4 and 6-4, and Northwestern has all these little guys. They did an outstanding job. It was our ability to play in the half court that was the difference. They scored just 14 points in the second half. Jesse is a winner. He was the MVP in the Division 2 football championship game. He’s as tough as nails.”

Scarber started at defensive back in King’s 18-0 victory over Walled Lake Western in the Division 2 final at Ford Final last November.